Word clouds created by Kantar Media show the most used terms in food advertising for 2013 and 2017. Kantar examined words used in TV advertising, radio, print, digital and other platforms.

Fruits and vegetables check many of the boxes when it comes to the words being used to sell food.

Research firm Kantar Media examined the most-used words in food advertising for 2017 and for 2013. For the 2017 group, words that popped off the page included artificial, real, protein, fresh, natural and calories. Several years earlier, the words natural, fresh, protein, calories, real and healthy made the top six.

“I think the biggest difference is the word healthy has gone away,” said Darcy Douglas, director of account solutions at Kantar Media.

She noted that while healthy still shows up on the larger list, its prominence has decreased.

“I think it’s around the specificity of the word,” Douglas said. “Fresh, natural, I think really speak to true product attributes. Healthy definitely has a wide, wide definition and really could encompass many different things.

“Something like protein, again, very specific, and we all understand,” Douglas said. “Maybe it’s that increasing education of the consumer or the shopper out there. They really do know what’s going into their food and want to know.”

Natural, another more nebulous term, also declined in status between 2013 and 2017.

Artificial, the top word in food advertising recently, did not make the top six in 2013. It would appear the use of the phrase “no artificial ingredients” is what rocketed the word up the list.



Suppliers and retailers should keep the 2017 list in mind as they craft advertisements. It makes sense to be aware of these terms and their prominence, whether a company wants to make sure to be in line with trend or whether it wants to differentiate itself by using whatever it expects to be the next big food advertising words.

As always, it makes sense for suppliers and retailers to be continually surveying and otherwise gathering feedback from consumers on what they consider trigger words for purchase. It seems likely that the buzzwords will change quite quickly, so regular research in this area would be ideal.


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