Kraft's South Beach Wraps

A few more well-placed calories could have raised the satisfaction level of Kraft's South Beach Wraps.

By Hollis Ashman and Jacqueline Beckley, Consumer Understanding Editors

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The boxed meal comes in many forms, from the one you get from the deli or the hotel restaurant to Oscar Mayer Lunchables. In the case of Lunchables, many of the items inside carry some sort of Kraft brand, which ensures the "goodness" of the meal.

The idea behind Lunchables was to create a gift from mom to her child. When originally launched, it was thought Lunchables would fit all age groups and demographics. After a short time in the market, it was apparent this product fit best with children.

Now Kraft is trying to expand the market for a Lunchable-like product with South Beach Diet Refrigerated Wrap Sandwich Kits. They come in four varieties to fit consumers' needs for appropriate foods while on a diet. (The wraps discussed in this article are part of a broader array of South Beach diet products from Kraft that range from frozen meals to snack items.)

While the Atkins Diet and other low-carb diets have pretty much run their faddish course, diets such as low-fat, reduced-calorie and Weight Watchers survive. While Dr. Arthur Agatston's South Beach Diet emerged during the low-carb fad, its focus on the right carbs and right fats allowed it a longer run than other low-carb diets.

Weight control for many consumers centers around portion control and finding the right foods within a diet to eat. The Lunchables-style approach to South Beach Diet Wraps allows the consumer to have a meal in a box for around 250 calories with the "right stuff" inside. Just buy the box – you can get on with your busy life and you don't have to think about it any more.

Lunchables themselves are not very healthful. The pepperoni pizza variety contains more than enough fat (15 g overall, 7 g saturated fat), salt (770 mg) and calories (about 300-350 calories). So Kraft needed to create a new brand that would get the message out that this would be healthy and good tasting for an adult while still coming in a box.

The box idea is still about gifting. Kraft needed something to move into the adult segment of boxed meals that would also be clearly healthy and giftable at the same time. This product would be a special, individualized reminder of how much you care about yourself.

Understanding the marketplace

Dietary fads, continuous new health research and the resultant foods have created an issue for consumers who are not longer always sure of what is healthy. This drives consumers to find a trustworthy expert to tell them what to eat.

In 2003, the low-carb prepared meal market was estimated at $194 million and was growing at 97 percent a year. The segment was projected to be $860 million by 2008, according to Business Insights, although that estimate may now be in question.

Meal Kits, frozen foods, refrigerated foods and restaurant take-out meals provide some tough competition. Convenience is an expected norm for most food, but for diet food it is all about access to the type of food you need, when you need it. The issue is timing. When consumers are not time constrained, taste wins nearly 2:1 over healthfulness and nine times over convenience, according to our own research (see tables). When consumers are time constrained, taste remains a 2:1 choice over healthfulness but only 1.5 times over convenience.

The implication? When mainstream consumers are asked to trade-off among health, taste and convenience, their choices are taste and convenience. Health loses. A product with a health orientation must clarify its tastiness and convenience attributes for consumers to want to buy it.

South Beach Diet Wraps are leveraging the technology used in Lunchables and the diversity of Kraft food products to create a convenient and healthful set of meals for consumers who want to eat better on the go.

Consumer-tasters gave the South Beach Diet Turkey & Bacon Club Wraps mixed reviews. Some found them OK, but others felt the product didn't deliver on its promises.

Insights

Consumers find it difficult to eat healthy while on the go and are feeling stressed. What better way to provide comfort than on-the-go branded foods that fit the dietary needs of adults and can provide health, taste and convenience?

Our It!s Convenient, Crave It! and Healthy You! studies integrate 30 conjoint studies to generate a database that can be used to understand the experience of foods. We use the data to understand our target product: South Beach Diet Refrigerated Wrap Sandwich Kits.

For convenient foods, top concern is how consumers conveniently will feed themselves across the entire day (see tables below for survey responses). When you delve deeper into the consumer mind, convenience foods become very much about the best foods available at the time and about foods that are individual and specific to the consumer.

Healthy meals for consumers are about being flavorful and zesty, traditional and home-style, hearty and very much about the meat inside. Craveable classic poultry is about the sides you eat with it, how it is prepared (coated and fried, grilled or roasted), freshness and quality. Healthier poultry is juicy, fresh and prepared in a simple way (grilled, roasted but not fried) and very flavorful.

The key attributes for a healthy meal are taste, price, portion size, appearance and amount of fat. Calories, brand and convenience follow further behind in the consumer hierarchy. The key attributes for classic poultry are taste and aroma. Other important attributes are portion size and product appearance. The key attributes for convenient poultry are taste, appearance, price, healthfulness and aroma.

The key trends in convenience foods are package, value, taste and healthiness.

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