Skip to main content
Hit enter to search or ESC to close

7 keys to success for every Irish brand, ingredient or technology commercialisation strategy

Mairéad Mc Keown, Manager, Knowledge & Critical Capability


A reminder just before you start reading:

The Bord Bia library is here to help its’ Irish food, drink and horticulture clients learn, know and sustainably grow!

Clients can ask us any question, anytime by calling +353 1 668 5155 or emailing us at

In the March 2023 edition of New Nutrition Business, Julian Mellentin wrote an authoritative article featuring several editorials and case studies which illustrate some of the well-proven keys to success that every brand, ingredient or technology commercialisation strategy must take into account.

This insightful article will summarise the 7 keys to success and provide implications for Irish Suppliers:



“Clean label” and products that are “free-from what’s bad” have manifested in a long-term growth trend. Now for the past 20+ years consumers, supermarkets and the food industry have been actively identifying something “bad” and taking it out of their diet and products. “Free-from” is a steady sales driver which supermarkets actively communicate to consumers. Consumers view free-froms as indicators of health and the menu of products on supermarket shelves is now extensive, see ASDA image below.


Top tip: With backing by some university researchers, Irish suppliers should keep a watchful eye on seed oil free-from. It’s growing rapidly, just like gluten-free did some 20 years ago. “A wise company will monitor this trend and connect to it where it can do so without risk or cost, in case it reaches a ceiling at 10% of consumers rather than at 25%.” (Mellentin, 2023)1. Those who want to learn more about this trend, should arrange a visit to the Bord Bia Library to view the New Nutrition Business Strategy Briefing on Seed oils – the next free-from?


7 keys to success for every Irish brand img1.jpg

UK Asda Stevenge – Free-From Section - Aug 2022



The internet and the advent of social media have played a dominant role in consumer thinking, empowering the growth in free-froms.

Faced with constantly changing and conflicting landscape of health and nutrition advice, consumers are confused. Some consumers will heed the advice of experts but others will do their own internet searches and use the results to make their own minds up about what works for them. There is no doubting that the Internet is in charge. Strong brands will help build the food literacy of their consumers with simple and consistent product messaging that’s easily understood, through all platforms over time.

Top tip: ‘Feel the benefit’/difference is one of the most powerful and easily understood marketing messages a brand can deliver. It helps create loyalty over time. Irish suppliers who want to learn more about this strategy in action, can follow A2 milk and check out the New Nutrition Businesses case study on A2 milk at the Bord Bia Library.



Probiotic dairy for digestive wellness and gluten-free products for coeliac disease both solve consumer problems.

For consumers who wanted to eat less meat, Beyond Meat failed to solve a problem. Instead it presented an alternative to established solutions (e.g. consume more fish, nuts, chickpeas or vegetables) which simply wasn’t as good tasting or affordable. If you want people to embrace your food technology, it must solve a problem and the importance of taste is paramount.

Top tip: Zero Acre Farms’ cultured oil aims to solve the earlier mentioned ‘seed oil problem’ for lifestyle consumers/early adopters who find it motivating. Irish suppliers who want to learn more about solving consumer problems with food technology could follow Zero Acre Farms social channels to keep up to date with their journey in this space and visit the Bord Bia Library for more on this topic.



Who wouldn’t like to hear that a product can taste indulgent and at the same time be good for us? New Nutrition business call this “Permission to Indulge” and the good news is that it works across most categories. This combination of health and indulgence really is one of the most effective marketing strategies companies can leverage. It’s what most consumers want. This strategy, has helped to take the trüfrü brand (Nature’s Fruit in Chocolate), into the mainstream, with simple ingredients and a ‘free-from what’s bad’ positioning, see image below. 

7 keys to success for every Irish brand img2.PNG

Images by Mintel on GNPD

According to New Nutrition Business Mondelez also excels at “Permission to Indulge”, which has manifested in Oreo Thins and Belvita Breakfast Biscuits.


Did you know? 9 billion Belvita biscuits are made each year and in 2018 they delivered USD 600 million in net revenues (Mondalez International). Belvita uses a combination of whole grains that are baked with a specially designed process, which allows for the slow release of carbohydrates over four hours. “It’s this promise of delivering four hours of “sustained energy” which gives consumers “Permission to Indulge” in a 20% sugar cookie for breakfast.” (Mellentin, 2023)2

7 keys to success for every Irish brand img3.png

Images by Mintel on GNPD

Top tip: “Permission to Indulge” is one of the most effective marketing strategies which works across many different categories. Irish suppliers who want to deep dive into this strategy should visit the Bord Bia library to explore relevant case studies by brands who are succeeding in this space.



Marketing messages which are simple and easy to understand have a much greater chance at succeeding with a wider consumer base. Let’s look at the example of Mars. Its’ CocoaVia brand marketed the health benefits of chocolate flavanols for ten years. Flavanols were not easily understood by consumers, so their appeal didn’t spread much further than early adopters/lifestyle consumers. Instead Mars is now keeping it simple and focussing on a “Permission to Indulge” strategy, see the, from – to, images below.

7 keys to success for every Irish brand img4.PNG              

Images by Mintel on GNPD

Top tip: Irish suppliers would do well to heed the lessons learned from this Mars example and keep their marketing messages simple.



Food is an integral part of a countries cultural identity and food culture relates to what people eat, why and how. The Mediterranean Diet features on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. “The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin (Cyprus, Coatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal)” (Unesco, 2013).

Food technology and brands do not operate independently from a country’s food culture. “That’s why you must make understanding it as much part of your strategy as food technology and consumer research.” (Mellentin, 2023)3

Top tip: Irish suppliers who want to understand why plant-based meat substitutes are failing in the US but growing strongly in Germany, should spend some time researching and understanding both respective food cultures for insights.



Understanding who you are targeting and how to successfully communicate with them is key to any good marketing strategy.

Lifestyle consumers/early adopters are the first group of people to embrace new health ideas, such as oat milk and blueberries. If you talk to these consumers about cocoa flavanols or the new free-from seed oils benefit they will get it, but the same messages won’t land with mass market consumers. Why? Well, mass market consumers are much more reluctant to take risks with new health ideas which are not yet established. Emerging benefits such as cocoa flavanols will need to be firmly established with the lifestylers/early adopters before they can go mass market. However, as previously discussed, there’s a ready to go, tried and tested marketing strategy that works really well with mass market consumers – and it’s called, “Permission to Indulge”.

Top tip: Irish suppliers who are looking to be inspired by the “Permission to Indulge” strategy in action, could learn a lot by following manifestations of it in Mondalez and trüfrü products.


This article is based on Seven tried-and-true steps to success by Julian Mellentin, New Nutrition Business. Irish suppliers who would like to read the original article and/or access the entire New Nutrition Business Database (packed full of case studies of brands and strategies on pricing, brand positioning, communications and everything you might need to know to inspire your own efforts), can call +353 1 668 5155 or email to make an appointment to visit the Bord Bia Library. The Bord Bia library is here to help you learn, know and sustainably grow!



1, 2 & 3 - Mellentin, J. (2023, March 1). Seven tried-and-true steps to success. New Nutrition Business. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from  

4 - UNESCO. (2013). UNESCO - Mediterranean Diet. Intangible Cultural Heritage. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from