How trends and legislation have an impact on brands

“It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back” — Seth Godin

by Adwright, 4 July, 2019

On June 6, 2019, Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs announced that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary source of artificial trans fats, will be banned as an ingredient in all foods sold in Singapore from June 2021.

In the pursuit to curb the worldwide obesity epidemic and to build a more health-conscious society, nations are coming together to push this movement. It is by no coincidence that Singapore launched such a ban overnight. The United States, Canada and Thailand introduced similar bans last year and earlier this year. Brazil also passed a law last year that will see a ban go into effect in 2021.

Since 2013, many Singaporean food manufacturers and retailers have already reformulated their food products to limit trans fat to below 2 percent, but stricter rules will be enforced to eliminate it by 2021. The strong relational ties of the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association and the Health Promotion Board has enabled manufacturers to stay in line with this legislation. This phenomenon is unique to Singapore because government agencies and the various associations work closely. What if, there comes a scenario where food manufacturers have to rely on their own to keep up with trends

While food manufacturers are active in reformulating their recipes to concoct healthy products for health-conscious consumers, how many consumers read the nutritional labels? Consumers may be more health-conscious but not necessarily equipped with the knowledge of understanding the information on the labels. Therefore, it is crucial for manufacturers to also communicate and frame their health messages in simple terms to consumers.

Be sensitive to current regulations and trends

From a branding perspective, brands should look into the core values to bring out the essence of their beliefs. For example, Frito-Lay, a global distributor of snack food, continues to engage consumers and can anticipate changes to consumers preference with its evolving food portfolio. It has cut trans fat from its products since 2001, which was well ahead of the 2015 FDA announcement.

Food companies that are sensitive to trends and such as Frito-Lay has taken such bold bets and largely paid-off. Through their consistent brand messaging that they are committed to health trends and consumers preference, they are able to align and stay relevant to consumers. It is interesting to note how Frito-Lay brings their commitment to the next level by ensuring transparent communication by even requesting their suppliers to adhere to do the same. As such, consumers can resonate with the brand and trust their products.

Therefore, marketers and brand owners must conscientiously take note of trends and hear the voices of their consumers to ensure that their brands remain relevant. An emerging trend like this “trans fat free” trend has taken more than a decade to manifest into legislation in Singapore, for instance. Brands that are sensitive to such emerging trends may have had already reformulated long before the ban and taken advantage of its unique position and claims.

Consumer education takes time

While manufacturers are active in reformulation, they need to take time and effort to educate their consumers along the way. More often than not, consumers have no idea what nutritional information means on the packaging. While there is information readily available online, consumers may not readily access it. Therefore, brands should take on the role to educate their consumers. Nutritional information need not be in the form of confusing technical terms but rather broken down to bite-size narratives to convey a brand’s commitment to developing the right dietary products.

Take the example of Gardenia, Singapore’s local bakery that has since expanded regionally, is consistently portraying its brand with wholesome ingredients. It is always communicating its commitment to nutritional products. Hence, its move to remove partially hydrogenated oil is believable and achievable in the eyes of consumers. Although there are no major press releases on Gardenia’s pledge in removing partially hydrogenated oil, consumers can still easily understand its position. This is because consumers are used to their position in its transparency in offering advice on wholesome ingredients and the nutritional values of its products.

Brand perception takes a long time to build. Brands that are committed to position itself in sustainable wellness have to consistently frame and share its messaging accordingly. By doing so, consumers can then readily accept their position, and grow to trust and love the brand.

Curating a Brand

At Adwright, we seek to uncover a brand’s core value and then curate a set of narratives and brand assets that are in sync with the brand’s philosophy and purpose. The brand needs to walk-the-talk of its brand narrative to ensure consistency and conviction. It is imperative for a brand to partner with an agency that takes an interest in the brand for the long haul to achieve the brand’s vision.

We love to play a part in your next branding phase to help curate and position your brand that truly matches your company’s core value. To find out more about the services that Adwright provides, call us today on +65 6227 7227 or email



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