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Pickles Change with the Times: Hearty to Healthy
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are some products that are timeless. The ones that don’t need to be changed or updated at the core and simply sell with new packaging or fancy new fonts. But those are the lucky few. Most brands that are in for the long haul understand the importance of being relevant to customers during every period of their lives. Sometimes, this means changing a classic product so it becomes more acceptable to today’s consumer.

Want an example? Pickles. Yup, that’s right; pickles. Today’s consumer is not the same pickle-eater of 1985. Sure, that’s not too long in the past, but customers want something much different today than during the convenience and fast-food boom of the '80s. In 2013 it’s about healthy choices, and that doesn’t simply mean low-fat. It means customers are interested in ingredients, natural products, and of course sodium levels. So what worked years back for a pickle brand definitely needs to be updated in order for today’s customer to take a bite.

It’s not easy to change a product. Really change it, so the customer can happily purchase. There’s research, testing, dollars and manpower. It’s no easy task. But brands that see the benefit and change to be relevant have a better chance at success than those that ignore what the customer is saying. Vlasic. Such an unassuming yet iconic brand. The pickle genius of way back when realized its product wasn’t cutting it anymore. It was too hearty for what customers wanted, and it needed to be healthier to still be purchased. So the brand went on a journey to re-introduce Vlasic pickles to the healthy-minded consumer. This pickle checks off every box of what this consumer wants in a healthy food and also provides a new updated look. One that is reminiscent of a Saturday farmer’s market, one that screams "natural," and one that feels like 2013.

Doing a full product change is not something that every brand will do. But those that do are aware of who their customers are and what they need to make them happy. It’s understanding the environment that surrounds the product and making sure that the brand fits nice and snuggly inside. By ignoring changes in customers or lifestyles, brands will wind up becoming irrelevant to customers and seem as though they are only talking to themselves. Luckily, Vlasic was one of the smart ones that saw the benefit of change and a new path for success.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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