No Bull*** vs. Noble S***

An industry divided. The food and beverage industry can be split into two categories based on have and have not marketing strategies. This has inspired us to coin the phrase: "No Bull**** and Noble S***".


Consumer have more power than ever. Trust and transparency is at a paramount state. Food companies are addressing this consumer demand using a combination of tactics based on the buying agenda of their consumer. Strategies can be easily spotted on packaging, website, and social media — often boiling down to "No Bull**** and Noble ****". 


Common examples



No Bull***


Upfront packaging call-outs stating what the product does not contain. Free-From strategy is well-established because it began at the on-set of the clean label movement. The "No Bull****" approach peels back the proverbial curtain, removing ingredients with poor consumer perception — this demonstrates transparency with hopes of earning consumer trust.

No Bull**** approach has become commonplace and a bar-minimum expectation by the majority of consumers. The most popular phrase being: “No Artificial Colors and No Artificial Preservatives”.

Click here for more background info on the Free-From Movement.

Photo: Copyright  French's ®.

Photo: Copyright French's®.

Note: This phrase is also used verbatim by a company that sold for $600M...the topic of every conversation, Rxbar® (see below package).

Photo: Copyright  Rxbar ®.

Photo: Copyright Rxbar®.



Noble ***


The strategy of highlighting ingredients, sourcing call-out's, mission statements, and brand stories is not a new marketing approach by any means. However, the new clean label pressures, UN sustainability goals, and the growing power of purpose-driven brands brings this topic to the forefront. 

Clean label has evolved from a movement grounded in “no-no” ingredients (what ingredients are not present in the the product) to also being considered an ethical movement. Many consumers now look for a checklist of “no-no ingredients” and information that touch on shared values.

Consumers have begun to understand the voting power of capitalism. The public is aligning their heart with their pocketbook and food companies are listening.


Take Away

It is prudent for companies to have a foot in both strategies (No Bull**** and Noble ****), since consumers have wants, needs, and drivers that will fall into both buckets. The No Bull**** approach is well-established within the food industry.

However, successfully executing the Noble **** approach has more nuance to it — and the future of the brand can hinge on it. The consumer audience seeking Noble **** information also tends to be a bit savvier. Our expert tip: consistency and authenticity is key.

Looking for inspiration?

Here are some IG accounts that Brisan Group has our eye (many were at ExpoWest 2018!). These companies do an excellent job of balancing authenticity, demonstrating "Noble ***" brand purpose and values, highlighting founder involvement and personality, and demonstrating product lifestyle inclusion.

IG accounts to follow:



Theresa Cantafio