For decades, there wasn’t exactly a lot innovation in the sweetener market. Many suggested that consumer habits were too set and the industry leaders too entrenched for the category to change.
But in just a few years, Cargill’s Truvia has become the number two brand of sweetener. How did the company pull off this feat? We spoke to Zanna McFerson to find out.
As Cargill’s Vice President and Business Director in charge of Truvia, McFerson has helmed the brand from conception to growing ubiquity. When devising the marketing strategy for the sweetener, she looked first to leverage the product’s core attributes: nature, sustainability and taste.
“One of the best pieces of advice that we got from our first creative agency was: get out of the way of your product. It speaks for itself,” she said of the white crystals derived from the stevia plant. Package design and messaging followed suit, emphasizing clean lines and simple, natural accents. Consumers instantly responded favorably.
Last year, the brand kicked off it’s “Turning the Town Truvia” campaign which uses local media from CBS and other partners to encourage consumers to nominate their favorite local eateries to carry Truvia® sweetener. “It’s a multi-platform media campaign that involves so much consumer engagement directly on the campaign as well as local talent,” she says. “In collaboration with CBS, we have targeted and really focused on local communities.”
The stevia plant is typically harvested in South America and Asia and the brand has gone to great lengths to emphasize the importance of sustainability. “We look at stewarding natural resources,” she said. “We already did a full life cycle analysis and put out objectives for 2015 in the areas of carbon and waste, water, biodiversity for land.”
In what products might consumers soon find Truvia? McFerson says that Truvia likes to see itself as a lifestyle brand and as such the opportunities are innumerable. “You never know what Truvia can become.”
Zanna McFerson is Cargill’s Vice President and Business Director in charge of Truvia.