Interview

Hälsans Kök went all in on digital channels and achieved strong growth

March 27, 2017

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Karl Händel

In today’s meeting we talk about reverse strategies, how to change consumer behaviour and how playfulness can lift an entire segment – and we revel in the feeling of beating the record with the most applications in the vegetarian category at Smartson.se

On the sofa in front of us sits Johannes Erlandsson, Marketing Manager Nordics for Hälsans Kök, who’s just summed up a successful launch of the new Falafel & Friends. The experience from companies such as Mondelēz, Estrella, Nestlé and Lantmännen is mentioned in our discussions and is one of the factors to Hälsans Kök’s rapid sales growth in the trade and the success in digital channels. To understand the rapid development we need to turn back the clock some years.

In today’s meeting we talk about reverse strategies, how to change consumer behaviour and how playfulness can lift an entire segment – and we revel in the feeling of beating the record with the most applications in the vegetarian category at Smartson.se

On the sofa in front of us sits Johannes Erlandsson, Marketing Manager Nordics for Hälsans Kök, who’s just summed up a successful launch of the new Falafel & Friends. The experience from companies such as Mondelēz, Estrella, Nestlé and Lantmännen is mentioned in our discussions and is one of the factors to Hälsans Kök’s rapid sales growth in the trade and the success in digital channels. To understand the rapid development we need to turn back the clock some years.

It took off three years ago

– The vegetarian trend really took off three years ago – among both consumers and the trade. The foundation is based on an increased health awareness and discussion on sustainability. We have an international perspective, a high portion of people who try to live healthily, which can be seen in the number of gym memberships sold per capita, says Johannes Erlandsson.

The brand Hälsans Kök’s frozen vegetarian products on the menu have enjoyed strong growth in the digital landscape and has a great consumer base, for example through their own Facebook page

– In 2016, we put the entire marketing budget into digital media. Thanks to the great interest in vegetarian food, inspiring content, experimenting with different audiences and timing of the posts, we have gone from 35,000 to 108,000 followers on Facebook in 12 months. Continuity is important. We post at least twice a week and will focus more on relevant tips than product in our dialogue.

The target group aren’t vegetarians

When thinking of Hälsans Kök you would expect that vegetarians are the marketing focus, rather than the reverse. However, the brand is looking for new customers who eat meat but want to change their diet.

– The role of communication is primarily to attract new buyers to the category. Vegetarians will already know where to find us. Instead, we focus on the large group who eat meat today, but who want to eat more vegetarian food. It’s about making sure they understand there are good vegetarian options and breaking their old routines – that’s why our blog collaborations are never with vegetarians. The blogger’s role is to show how vegetarian meals can enrich and not be limiting - that they are simple and opens up an exciting new world of good taste.

Thoughts on a launch

In conjunction with the launch of the concept Falafel & Friends, Johannes used Smartson. A campaign concept was developed where the goal was to build on the Falafel & Friends easiness of preparing and how it’s ideal as both a snack and a meal.

– The falafel is an entry-level product in this category, and we used a playful style in which we highlighted the variation in colour and flavour. Through Smartson we got a very good impact hitting a record of nearly 12,000 sign-ups in the vegetarian category. One advantage of our campaign was that consumers could try all three flavours in the series and learn how to find their way to our shelf. In social media, 1,200 test pilots shared the variants beetroot, spinach or classic which is an effective way to publicise a new concept.

The recommendation becomes playful

– For me, Smartson’s toolbox can be used to create strong scopes, dialogue and understanding. When we received a strong response to all three flavours we chose to use Smartson’s crowdscore in social channels, store and print. Together with the recommendation, we will also continue with our three key words: taste, playfulness and variety.

Our conversation moves on to the neighbouring Nordic countries and what we can learn from the differences between the various markets. In addition to Sweden, it is Britain and the Netherlands that are some of the countries who are at the forefront of new trends.

The Nordic differences are interesting

– The other Nordic countries are far behind Sweden. Here we have a better and wider range of vegetarian dishes. Sweden is at the forefront of Europe as eating vegetarian is becoming more mainstream, while it’s still a niche in the other Nordic countries. But we do see a rapid influx in the category and I am absolutely sure that what we eat will be revolutionised in the next ten years, both here and in our neighbouring countries.


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