Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of leading a team that’s devoted to exploring new ways to address the nutrition needs of people experiencing specific health or life events. I’m excited to have led a conversation around this topic here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, as we continue to explore ways we will meet the needs of the next billion consumers.
I’ve recently spent a great deal of time talking to people about the nutrition-related challenges they face at different points in their lives, and one important lesson I’ve learned is that we can make a big impact on people simply by reframing the language we use to communicate about nutrition.
Nutrition language has become loaded, and people want to be spoken to on their own terms. An older woman, for example, may feel that a “hydration” beverage is not for her – it’s for athletes. But in fact, dehydration is a tremendous problem for women over age 65. Similarly, a “low-fat” snack might signal to a man with high cholesterol that the product is really designed for women who are dieting.
In addition, nutrition information is confusing. Nutrition facts labels, USDA dietary guidelines, and information about what constitutes a healthy diet, are often text-heavy, contradictory and jargon-filled.
A recent International Food Information Council survey found that only 9% of US Consumers know how many calories they need on a daily basis, or how to apply the % Dietary Value to determine how many nutrients they’re consuming. The language we’re using obviously isn’t working.
I’m proud to be a part of a team at PepsiCo that’s working to understand how we can use language and design to better communicate about our products, and more effectively translate nutrition guidance for consumers. I believe that teams like mine within PepsiCo will help revolutionize how we view “nutrition” – making it more accessible, convenient and enjoyable for the next billion consumers.