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3 Key Lessons from Rude Health to Inform Your Business Strategy

11th January 2021

Lauren Sneyd, Library Assistant & Information Specialist, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

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This FoodAlert article will discuss 3 key lessons from Rude Health that can be used to help inform your business strategy. The lessons shared on 1) naturally functional, 2) plant-based, and 3) packaging have been sourced from New Nutrition Business, a world leading authority on food, health and nutrition strategies.

 Rude Health began in 2005 as a muesli company, founded by Nick and Camilla Barnard. The couple “wanted to make food that we would feed ourselves and our children and that we could recommend wholeheartedly” and used €4,400 of their savings to start Rude Health (New Nutrition Business, 2020). Rude Health remained in the cereal category for 8 years but experienced even more success when they entered the plant based space with milk alternatives made from coconut, oat, almond and soy in 2013. According to New Nutrition Business, the company’s dairy-free drinks range alone is expected to reach a value of around £18m over the next 12 months (New Nutrition Business, 2020).


1) Naturally Functional:

Rude health highlight that their naturally healthy, tasty, clean ingredients enable consumers “to be in rude health”. Naturally functional is one of the megatrends highlighted in ‘10 key trends in health & nutrition 2021’ from New Nutrition Business. It’s a trend that sits across many categories, as consumers want to select food based on what they think to be naturally healthy. The current pandemic has seen health concerns move to the top of the consumer’s agenda. Naturally functional provides innovative opportunities for forward looking brands and rude health has aligned their products to this trend to leverage its relevance to the consumer.


Below is an example of how Rude Health are marketing their natural ingredients in a simple, jargon free way (100% SPELT. THAT’S IT.). By highlighting ingredients on front of pack rather than the back it’s much easier for consumers to take notice. The brand is transparent and quirky with its on pack messaging saying things like “don’t eat it because it’s trending, eat it because it’s delicious” (Rude Health, 2020).

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2) Plant Based:

As stated above, Rude Health’s plant based milk alternative range is what has helped the company really take off. Sales of their dairy-free drinks are said to have risen 120% in the past three years (New Nutrition Business, 2020).

Consumers are including more plant based products in their diets, (Bord Bia, 2018) but interestingly Rude Health doesn’t promote itself as a vegan brand. It has also said that this is not a priority, giving the brand a unique aspect. The company has made comments supporting the dairy industry. While some vegan consumers may not like this, it also means that a wider consumer base feel invited to buy the products (New Nutrition Business, 2020). This helps them stand out in the market with a strong brand identity. Check out Rude Health’s blog here to see some more of the brands views on dairy and dairy free.


3) Brand Packaging:

The colourful packaging is another core marketing channel for Rude Health. The brand wanted dynamic packaging to match it’s products and chose the bold colours and imagery that we see on shelf today, to help convey their main messages. According to MJS Packaging “Almost 9/10 shoppers say colour is the primary reason they’ve purchased a certain product and 8/10 of shoppers say colour increased brand recognition (MJS Packaging, 2018). Rude Health’s bold packaging design helps the brand to look good and stand out on shelf.


3 key lessons for Irish Suppliers in the health and nutrition space:

  • Naturally Functional
  • To enhance your agility, highlight the natural functional benefits of your products on pack.
  • Simplify your ingredients lists to build trust with consumers and assure them of your products healthy nature.


  • Plant- Based
  • To stand out in a crowded marketplace, develop a strong brand identity and product portfolio that appeals to a wider consumer base.


  • Brand Packaging
  • Help consumers take notice of your products and remember your brand by developing a striking packaging design.
  • Use bold colours and clear on pack messaging (jargon free) to speak to the consumer in a way that resonates.



New Nutrition Business. (2020). Rude Health Case Study. New Nutrition Business. Retrieved from https://www.new-nutrition.com/nnbReport/minidisplay/191

New Nutrition Business. (2020). 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2021. New Nutrition Business. Retrieved from https://www.new-nutrition.com/keytrend?id=195

Mintel. (2019). Functional is the future of plant-based dairy drinks. Mintel. Retrieved from https://clients.mintel.com/insight/functional-is-the-future-of-plant-based-dairy-drinks?fromSearch=%3Ffreetext%3Dplant%2520based%2520dairy

Mintel. (2020). Post-COVID-19 opportunities for breakfast cereal. Mintel. Retrieved from https://clients.mintel.com/insight/post-covid-19-opportunities-for-breakfast-cereal?fromSearch=%3Ffreetext%3Dcereal