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Rice and health: marketing opportunities in promoting a balanced diet

Image of the wellness marketing in the rice sector

With its vital role in the diet of over half of the world’s population, rice has achieved an undisputed reputation as one of the most versatile and nutritious foods available.

In recent years, so-called wellness marketing has gained widespread popularity with interesting results. Consumers, directed towards improving their health and wellness conditions, are increasingly careful about what they buy and are often willing to value healthy and sustainable products in their choices.

It is for these precise reasons that rice could take on a central role in this type of marketing, thanks to its characteristic of being a healthy product suitable for general well-being.

What is wellness marketing?

Wellness-focused marketing is an emerging approach designed to respond to consumers’ growing interest in their physical and psychological health.

Fast-paced schedules, stressful lifestyles, health concerns and pollution disrupt the lives of many people. In this context, this type of marketing presents itself as a useful and effective response, with solutions for a balanced life and greater harmony between mind and body.

This also works from a commercial point of view as it reflects the willingness of people to invest in their own well-being and to use products oriented towards a holistic view of health.

While traditional marketing techniques tend to focus on the visual or functional characteristics of a product, wellness-oriented marketing goes deeper, and companies can gain an additional benefit by being able to establish a deeper connection with their customers.

The result is an increased appreciation of the brand, which, in the customer’s mind, is responsible for an improvement in their existence.

The role of rice in wellness marketing: the nutritional profile of rice

The inclusion of rice in a wellness marketing strategy is largely justified by its nutritional properties. It is not just a matter of appearance, but of the real characteristics of this grain. When the customer is made aware of the wealth of nutrients contained in each grain through marketing initiatives, this can be a significant step towards helping them achieve a balanced diet.

  • It is rich in carbohydrates: carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy in our body. Those found in rice are mainly composed of starch, which, in addition to providing energy, helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • It is packed with amino acids: although rice is not listed as a major source of protein, it does contain lysine, which is an amino acid that contributes to tissue repair in the body and the formation of antibodies. Brown rice, in particular, has a slightly higher protein content than white rice.
  • It is rich in vitamins and minerals: the nutritional benefits of rice are not only related to the presence of carbohydrates. In fact, it contains a variety of vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin B6 and folate, which play a crucial role in energy metabolism and red blood cell production. As far as minerals are concerned, rice is a source of manganese, selenium, magnesium and iron.

The health benefits of rice

As well as being a satiating food that contributes to the nourishment of a very large number of people across the planet, rice is also an important ally for health and well-being.

The high content of complex carbohydrates in rice provides sustained energy, preventing spikes and rapid drops in blood sugar levels. This makes rice an ideal choice for maintaining constant energy levels and promoting sustained concentration.

And unlike other carbohydrates such as pasta, it is especially digestible due to its gluten-free nature. Therefore, it is often recommended in diets for those with digestive or gastrointestinal problems and the elderly. The fact that it does not contain gluten also makes it suitable for people with coeliac disease.

Some rice varieties, especially brown rice, are rich in fibre, which can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, thereby promoting cardiovascular health. The presence of antioxidants in varieties such as black and red rice may also help protect against heart disease.

As far as nutritional benefits are concerned, it can be said that due to the presence of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, consuming rice can assist in preventing certain chronic diseases. For example, the manganese in rice supports the production of antioxidants in the body, which in turn fight free radicals.

The health benefits of rice offer companies a solid and credible basis on which to base their wellness marketing campaigns.

However, while some well-known rice brands have recently launched campaigns designed to reinforce the well-being aspect of their product, the Ente Nazionale Risi (the Italian National Rice Authority), presenting the results of a survey on the appreciation of rice, pointed out that it is still an “unappealing”, yet much-loved food.

This means there is still room to improve its presence on supermarket shelves. Sometimes, it is interpreted as a food that is traditional, but at the same time lacking any real appeal. Italians would like to learn about new recipes, more insights into its beneficial properties and more information on less common varieties.

Food trends among young people are driving the push towards more innovative preparations, such as sushi, which is why the rice industry needs to stay ahead of the evolving needs of consumers. At the same time, there is a growing demand for transparency, knowledge and accurate information from brands to help consumers make more informed choices.

This is a challenge that all rice brands have to face, not only to improve the market but also to ensure common well-being and sustainability.