Food categories that have been illuminated by Lawes semiotic and cultural insight: baked products including bread, cookies; dairy products including cheese, spread; spices including mustard; soup (all formats); meat; fish; sugar and sweeteners; snacks and confectionery; packet cereal; fresh vegetables and salads; chilled convenience foods. Brand owners and retailers in various countries have asked us to: revive the sales of ranges of ready meals; explain the consumer psychology of fresh versus frozen; show how to become more innovative and premium with baked goods; pinpoint the semiotic signs and codes used by successful competitor food brands; show how to communicate ideas such as ‘healthy’, ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘artisanal’, ‘premium’ and ‘luxury’ using pack design and product design. We also supply ad agencies with food-related insights and creative ideas.
Did you know?
- Food can be heavily gendered and also loaded with meanings relating to social class. For some consumers, in line with these variables, being resistant to trying new foods can be a point of pride – not everybody automatically aspires to enjoying world cuisine.
- Consumers are not oblivious to the semiotics of food and so marketing communications need to respect their intelligence. In particular, ‘women laughing while eating yogurt’ has become a highly visible and recognisable advertising trope that consumers take pleasure in being able to spot and decode.
- Food businesses play a role in shaping food culture, which is why North Americans have palates which are educated to enjoy sweeter drinks and breakfast cereals. Additionally, in English-speaking North America, the word ‘good’ in connection with food conflates ‘tasty’ with ‘healthy’, which is not so much the case in other cultures.
- Consumers may experience meals and food items as having their own moral economy, especially in some cultures. For example, Northern European consumers can be quite fastidious about thinking that a person should eat something plain before eating a sweet treat, as though the reward of sweetness has to be earned.