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Be Good to Yourself

About the company

Sainsbury's 'Be Good To Yourself' range is a range of different products that share a common premise - lower fat and great taste. The range is an example of how a nutrition concern can be used successfully as a unique selling point, rather than a 'turn off' to customers.

Market research identified several reasons for focusing on the lower fat sector of the market:

  • the healthy food market is worth £6.3 billion
  • 75% of the UK population is concerned about their fat intake (Leatherhead Food Research 1998)
  • the lower fat sector has grown 32% over the last 3 years
  • 38% of customers bought Sainsbury's own brand lower fat food

In addition, Sainsbury's are committed to making healthy eating easier and enjoyable for consumers.

About the product
The 'Be Good To Yourself' brand was developed because:

  • The company's healthy eating offer needed to be heightened. Its 'Healthy Balance' symbol, which appeared on 25% of Sainsbury's own-brand products, had low awareness in the store - only 23% of customers recognised it and it was decided that greater impact was needed.
  • Customers who bought lower fat products were amongst the most valuable. Data obtained from loyalty cards showed that the average amount spent by customers who regularly bought lower fat products, was significantly higher than those who purchased standard fat products.
  • Customers found it difficult to shop specifically for lower fat products and so were very positive about the idea of a single, lower fat pack design to make it easier to find the products in store. A clear, prominent identifying logo and design was needed for the range.
  • Customers perceived that the taste of products carrying 'low fat' or 'light' claims would be less good than the standard equivalent. So, the taste of the new products would need to be extremely good to counteract this perception.
  • Consumers commented that there is often a limited range of low fat options in certain food categories.
  • The 'Be Good To Yourself' range was needed to offer a wide range of products and choice. Generic style packaging and in-store promotions would ensure that the products could be easily identified as being part of that range.
  • Customers also found fat labelling confusing, because there were so may different types of claim used. A simple, informative but helpful approach was needed.
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About the design and development process
Having identified what the opportunity was, and the problems associated with it, Sainsbury's focused on who the target group should be, identified the barriers to purchasing the products and devised clear criteria for design briefs for the range. The target market was identified as:
  • Demographic: females aged 35+, especially those with children
  • Attitude: those aware of the benefits of a lower fat diet, especially those who are not prepared to achieve this at the expense of food enjoyment or convenience - this includes 'improvers' (consumers looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, but confused by the array of dietary advice) and 'guilty indulgers' (consumers that aspire to looking good and possible a little slimmer; enjoy indulgent foods and look for lower fat claims to appease their guilt)

The main barriers to consumers purchasing lower fat products were found to be:

  • low fat = low taste
  • low fat = boring
  • low fat claims = confusing

Sainsbury's research showed that 68% of consumers read fat claims; 33% thought general fat claims were misleading and 28% found them confusing. In particular, consumers were confused by fat claims such as 'light' or 'reduced fat'. They preferred specific claims like '% fat free' and '% less fat'. For this reason, all claims were changed to just these two specific ones across the whole range.

Although detailed briefs were created for each specific product within the range, general principles were followed, including:

  • products should 'match normal' (be as close to a standard product as possible)
  • 'less Fat, all the Taste' (the taste of the reduced fat version should not suffer)
  • use the '% fat free' or '% less fat' claims only
  • marketed using the new 'Be Good To Yourself' identity that clearly communicates the offer to customers

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About the manufacture

The manufacturing process used depends on the specific product being made. Here the processes for several products from the 'Be Good To Yourself' range are outlined. The main consideration to be addressed when developing and manufacturing any lower fat product is 'how can the fat be decreased'? Essentially there are two possible methods:
  • substituting key ingredients with lower fat alternatives, egs. lower fat crème fraiche for cream or novel fat replacers
  • modifying cooking techniques, egs. grilling or baking rather than frying

Sensory evaluation is important to ensure that the product still has the required 'taste' even if the fat content can be successfully reduced. Sometimes products may be low fat, yet taste terrible! Therefore a mixture of techniques must be used to ensure that the product is both low fat and tastes as good as the standard product. An example that demonstrates this point is the 'Be Good To Yourself' yogurt.The following chart compares the composition of added ingredients of a standard and 'Be Good To Yourself' strawberry yogurt.

    Ingredient position
    Thick & Creamy yogurt
    Be Good To Yourself yogurt
    Strawberries (13%)
    Strawberries (8%)
    Thickener (modified starch)
    Strawberry Concentrate
    Gelling Agent
    Acidity Regulator
    Locus Bean Gum

The ingredient list provides clues as to how the taste and texture of the lower fat version were maintained. The standard product provides 127 Kcal/4.1g fat per 100g, yet the lower fat version 54 Kcal/0.1g fat per 100g. Clearly the fat has been reduced by the use of low fat yogurt. Without additional ingredients to mimic the sensory qualities of fat, egs.thickener, the lower fat product may have had a watery texture.

1. 'Be Good To Yourself' Soup
Sainsbury's existing soups were reviewed, but since work had just been completed on a 60 kcal range, the expense of developing a new BGTY range could not be justified. Instead Sainsbury's existing range of four low fat canned soups were selected for development.
A taste panel was set up to see whether they could be converted for the 'Be Good To Yourself' range. The results of the tasting were poor, and in addition, the sales of these soups were weak. They had unattractive packaging and were 300g, rather than the standard 400g size. Therefore a decision was made to discontinue the current range and develop a new product.

An outline design brief was provided for the soup supplier. The brief suggested a number of soup variants, all with a new twist, eg. Mexican tomato with chilli. Essentially the soups were based around the flavours of tomato, chicken, mushroom and vegetable, as these are the most popular soup varieties. They had to be wholesome and warming, not watery or lacking in flavour and contain no mono-sodium glutamate (MSG). In addition, the soup had to be 99% fat free. The supplier developed the new soups and sent the samples back to Sainsbury's. Approximately 6-8 canned samples for each type of soup were sent.

At this stage initial feedback was encouraged, with some soups being instantly discounted. Comments were recorded and the supplier developed these further for the second tasting session. It was acknowledged that the 'plant' samples may differ from the 'kitchen' samples. The second tasting session involved a much more formalised test with 30-40 people recording scores for different attributes. Four soups were chosen from this data. For example, the session recommended that the 'Italian tomato and chicken' soup be renamed 'Mediterranean vegetables and chicken', and the 'French Onion' soup be reformulated as it was considered to have the appearance of 'school dinner gravy', the flavour of 'bovril and stale onion' and the texture of 'mushy onions'. Further reformulations were undertaken until all four soups were signed off for manufacture.

Unit operations for soup manufacture

Raw materials arrive at the factory
Ingredients are measured
Lentils added to soup mix
The soup is cooked in large 'kettles'
Soup cans are filled
Cans are labelled


2. 'Be Good To Yourself' Frozen Ready Meals - 'Fishermen's Pie'
The supplier for the standard product was contacted and given the brief to develop a lower fat version. Product samples were then sent back to Sainsbury's where test panels were conducted. As the product is made up from three components (ie fish, sauce and potato) emphasis was placed on the sauce and potato, as fat reduction of those components could be realistically achieved. For example, in the standard mash topping butter and cream were used with dehydrated potato flakes, whereas the lower fat version used fresh potatoes with butter flavouring and skimmed milk powder. White fish, rather than oily fish, was used.

Once the developers were happy with the reformulated lower fat product, it was put through a trial run at the manufacturing plant. The same equipment was used as with the standard product. A problem was encountered with the 'potato topping' machine. Essentially this piece of equipment pumps potato through nozzles onto the top of the product. However, the viscosity of the lower fat product was different, which resulted in the topping not being piped uniformly. Modifications were needed to the potato topping to make it less viscous, ie less runny.
































3. 'Be Good To Yourself' Chilled Sponges
Standard sponges (with a fruit, chocolate or syrup topping) usually contain around 20% fat, so the brief was to develop a product with 5% or less.
Different ways in which fat could be reduced were investigated, egs. the ratio of fruit to sponge was increased from that used in the standard version; 'high ratio fat' was tried - less is used, but it works harder. The main difficulty was developing a lower fat chocolate pudding, since when the fat is removed from cocoa, it becomes chalky with a flat taste. So, although a low fat claim could be made, the product would not meet the 'taste' specification.

Fat replacers were tested. However, there were several problems with their use in the mixtures, as well as the supplier not being able to guarantee the replacers being 100% GM free. So, the developers went 'back to the drawing board' and reviewed traditional cookery books for ingredients that could be used. They discovered that many old recipes used apple puree as a fat replacer. This was trialled and chosen as a suitable fat replacer for the chocolate pudding, providing the required taste and texture.

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About the marketing
The 'Be Good To Yourself' range was launched in May 1999, with the launch strategy focused on breaking down the barriers to purchase, poor taste and interest. The launch was led by a TV advert conveying the food visuals of unusual low fat foods, such as pizza and puddings. A story line was created showing a young woman, Lucy, indulging in ŒBe Good to Yourself¹ products without feeling guilty, after just being 'dumped' by her boyfriend Colin. The TV advert was part of a strong media campaign which included: a sampling campaign in store; direct mailing to 400,000 people who had been identified by the loyalty card as customers most likely to be interested in the range; single page magazine adverts; and in store 'point-of-sale' displays. The launch of the range resulted in an increase in sales for lower fat products, by breaking down some of the barriers to buying them. Branded sales for the year ending April 1999 (source: AC Nielsen) show that the 'Be Good To Yourself' brand is positioned in the top 25 brands in the UK, ahead of Bold, Pringles, Felix, Carling and Heinz Beans.

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About issues and values
Fat has an important role and functions:

  • It provides a concentrated source of energy. 1g of fat provides 37kJ (9kcal), more than double that provided by either protein or carbohydrate which provide 17kJ/g (4kcal) and 16kJ/g (3.75kcal), respectively
  • It is a source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and contains the essential fatty acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (n-6) and alpha linolenic acid (n-3). These are important in the formation of cell membranes, particularly in nerve tissue. About 1-2% of energy intake should come from EFAs.
  • It contributes to product texture and mouthfeel.

The average daily intake of fat in the UK is 102g for men and 74g for women, which provides around 40% of the food energy in the diet, and 38% of the total energy. Most people in the UK eat more total fat and more saturated fat than recommended amount needed to maintain health which is below 35%.

There are numerous ways to reduce the total amount of fat in the diet:

  • substitute lower fat versions of dairy products, egs semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, reduced fat cheese
  • use less of the full fat products use lower fat meats, eg chicken (without skin) and lean cuts of meat
  • use less fat in cooking and use low fat spreads for bread
  • grill and bake foods instead of frying or roasting
  • replace fat-containing foods with fruits, vegetables or starch foods

To reduce the amount of saturated fatty acids in the diet, lower fat options should be chosen and fats richer in monounsaturated fatty acids (egs olive oil, rapeseed oil) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (egs sunflower oil, corn oil) should sometimes be used. The amount of fat in foods is often shown on food labels. In many cases there is also information about the saturated fatty acid (saturates) content in food.

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Making use of the case study - things to think about and do
Using this case study for the following tasks will help to develop your understanding about:

  • the properties of fat as a material
  • industrial practices - recipe engineeering
  • new product development - designing for particular markets
  • values issues - food labelling legislation and nutrition claim
  • Based on the original brief given to the soup supplier (in the About the manufacture section of this case study) develop your own ideas for the BGTY soup range. Carry out a taste panel to evaluate your prototypes for acceptability of taste, texture, appearance and aroma.

  • Develop a range of 'fishermen' style products suitable to be placed in the BGTY ready meal range. The product should offer the customer something new and exciting, perhaps with the use of different fish, sauce flavours or topping choices. The product should be sold frozen and be able to be re-heated in a microwave.

  • Extend the range of BGTY fresh 'puddings'. Investigate consumer reaction to the following concepts: marbled sponge effects; layers of custard, fruit or sauce; exotic ingredients, egs. crystallised ginger, polka dot effects.

  • Perform sensory discrimination tests on a range of standard and lower fat products. Justify the tests that you performed and describe your results.

  • Make up batches of dehydrated and fresh potato mash. Devise an experiment to investigate the ease of piping for each.

  • Investigate the effect on viscosity on the type or quantity of fat used in a basic roux sauce. Justify your method of recording the viscosity of each sauce and the results of the investigation.

  • Bake two batches of small cakes, one using fat (eg. margarine or butter) and the other using a fruit pulp (eg. apple puree). Compare and evaluate the results.

  • With a partner prepare a report that argues the case for and against the role of fat in the diet. Include a consideration of the following points:
    • What is the role and function of fat in the diet?
    • How much fat is needed to maintain health and what factors determine this?
    • When and why should the level of fat in the diet be reduced?
    • What would constitute a balanced approach to fats in the diet?
    • What is the role and value of fat-reduced products?

  • Devise a range of ways in which low fat claims could be presented on a food product. Which method do people prefer? Which method makes the fairest, or most accurate, claims?

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Further useful resources
'Design & Make it: Food Technology', Stanley Thornes, 1997, p36-47, p124-125
'D&T Routes: Food', RCA, Hodder & Stoughton, 1997, p61
'Food Technology' Unit, British Nutrition Foundation, 1998, MAFF and www.nutrition.org.uk
'Interactive CD-ROM' from BNF, Autumn 2000, for modelling cake ingredients
'Examining Food Technology', Anne Barnett, Heinemann, 1996, p56-57, p76
'Food Technology', Collins Real World Technology series, Inglis, Plews & Chapman, p43-44, p51-54
'Hammond's Cooking Explained', Jill Davies, Longman, 1997, p79-83, p170-177, p329-337
'Understanding Ingredients', Anne Barnett, Heinemann, 1998, p22-25
'The Science & Technology of Food', RK Proudlove, Forbes, 1994, p28-45
'96% fat-free carrot cake' case study (Click here for more information on fat-reduced products and claims made about fat on food labels)
www.which.net (report on fat reduced product claims)
www.nutrition.org.uk (for more information on the functions of fat)

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