Baby Food: Nestlé Nutrition

IN-STORE EXECUTION: Improved aisle navigation concepts. PRODUCT INNOVATION: SmartNourish line and NatureSelect sub-brand. MARKETING/PROMOTION SUPPORT: Gerber Generation ad campaign. IN OCTOBER 2009, when Gerber baby food was included in the government's women, infants and children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program, Nestl did an excellent job managing it with Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers and

  • IN-STORE EXECUTION: Improved aisle navigation concepts.
  • PRODUCT INNOVATION: SmartNourish line and NatureSelect sub-brand.
  • MARKETING/PROMOTION SUPPORT: Gerber Generation ad campaign.

IN OCTOBER 2009, when Gerber baby food was included in the government's women, infants and children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program, Nestlé did an excellent job managing it with Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers and its retailer members, said Unified's grocery procurement manager Barbara Oberhammer. Nestlé made sure ample supply was available, and offered special display vehicles and signage.

“Nestlé is a strong CPG company with long-standing roots and expertise in innovating, schematics, marketing, advertising and promoting new products,” Oberhammer said. “It's made a huge difference with the Gerber business.”

Nestlé has launched a variety of new marketing programs to help parents navigate the baby aisle. Its proprietary Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Nutrition System ensures that its products communicate developmental milestones, such as the transition to crawling. Products suitable for each stage display a color-coded “Milestone Symbol.”

“This helps mom know when it is time to add new and different foods to her child's diet to help ensure her baby or toddler gets the positive nutrition needed for healthy development,” said Ken Kotkin, Nestlé Nutrition's division vice president.

What's more, Nestlé's new Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Interactive Menu Planner offers moms a shopping list that she can bring to the store.

Nestlé uses proprietary research to guide product development and nutrition communication. This past March, it launched Gerber Good Start infant formula, replacing Nestlé Good Start in the U.S. market. Also new for 2010 is Gerber Oatmeal Cereal with DHA and Bifidus BL, as well as the SmartNourish line.

“SmartNourish stands for a smart choice for feeding your baby and includes organic products that have DHA, vitamin E and choline,” said Kotkin. SmartNourish purees come in unique flavors like Banana Mango and Apple Blackberry.

To help remind moms of the strict quality guidelines that are part of all Gerber products, the company introduced the NatureSelect sub-brand to its Gerber purees.

“NatureSelect products are made with ingredients that are carefully selected to meet Gerber's high-quality standards and align with mom's increasing interest in transparency in food production,” said Kotkin.

A key part of its 2010 communication initiative was the launch of its Gerber Generation ad campaign, which speaks to a younger generation of moms, interpreting the benefits of the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Nutrition System to the consumer.

Gerber Generation ads showcase a number of product segments and include its developmental “Milestone Symbols” to help moms better understand the system and navigate the aisle.

COMPANY TO WATCH

ABBOTT NUTRITION: Abbott Nutrition added EarlyShield to its tolerance formulas: Similac Sensitive and Similac Sensitive Isomil Soy. EarlyShield previously was available only with Similac Advance. EarlyShield means the formulas have prebiotics to help promote digestive health, and added carotenoids to help support healthy cells. The brands continue to provide the benefits of the current formulation, including DHA and ARA for brain development, nucleotides for the developing immune system, and a palm olein-free fat blend for calcium absorption and bone development. Abbott also launched a new labeling system. All of its Similac products are placed under one of four distinct color-coded nutritional categories: Advance, Sensitive, Expert Care and Go & Grow.