Consumers are actively pursuing long-term health in many ways

In the past, health goals were short-term and based on solving a specific problem, such as weight loss. In the past few years, however, consumers have taken a broader approach to wellness. Indeed, in FMCG Gurus surveys, 52% of consumers said in 2021 that they took a long-term approach to health – a 10% increase compared to two years earlier (42%). This trend has undoubtedly been influenced to some extent by COVID-19, with 60% of people saying they have become more aware of the importance of preventing health problems by leading a healthy lifestyle.

However, this change in attitude cannot be attributed solely to the pandemic. Instead, there is a seismic shift and recognition among people that they want to stay fit and active as late as possible. These consumers are noticing that their diets are not as healthy as they should be and are taking a proactive and preventative approach to wellness.

People are now looking to make fundamental changes in their lifestyles, with 58% of respondents indicating that they are becoming more educated about their health. In addition, health goals have become broader and are now seen as lifestyle goals, meaning that even consumers who consider themselves to be in good health are seeking to improve their eating and drinking habits and lifestyle traits you are alive

Health goals

These proactive and preventative consumers say they would like to focus on different areas of physical and emotional health in the next few years.

Unsurprisingly, immunity is the area that people (68% of respondents) would like to see more attention to, reflecting how health goals have evolved and focused on disease management as people remain aware of future variants of the coronavirus . Other notable areas of health that consumers would like to improve are digestive health (53%) and mental well-being (48%). More and more people are recognizing the connection between the digestive system and immunity and seeing how gut health is linked to an increased prevalence of health problems. Meanwhile, high levels of uncertainty over the past few years have led to higher numbers of people suffering from stress and anxiety, poor sleep and an inability to relax – problems that were already widespread before the pandemic.

As consumers realize that many areas of well-being are interconnected, there will be an urgent need to address these areas in the next few years.

To become proactive

To address these areas of well-being, 49% of people surveyed said they had made changes to their diet in the past two years, seeking to minimize their intake of ingredients considered dietary evils and maximize their intake of health-enhancing nutrients. However, many consumers recognize that diet alone is not enough to maintain long-term health. As such, 61% said they had sought to increase their levels of physical activity (reflecting that they felt they were spending too much time being inactive), while 36% had sought to improve their mental state and 49% were trying to improve their sleep health.

For all these wellness concerns, consumers will look for better-for-you products with active ingredient claims that can support their goals. Products with a variety of functional ingredients and benefit claims will appeal in terms of efficacy, convenience and value. At the same time, it is critical that brands provide clinical and science-based evidence on packaging to support claims, as people can be skeptical about the validity of claims made in the health and wellness market in general.

Future goals

Around the world, aging populations continue to grow, even in countries previously associated with younger demographics. In addition, consumers continue to worry about future variants of the coronavirus. Finally, they also realize that their current diets and lifestyles may increase their risk of long-term health problems such as cancer.

As a result, consumers will continue to make fundamental changes in their diet and lifestyle to address a variety of physical and mental health issues, driving demand for products that help facilitate the cause. This is something that will increase the urgency to address all areas of health, regardless of whether people are currently suffering from symptoms, thus creating new opportunities for innovation within the health and wellness market.

About the author:

Will Cowling is Marketing Manager at FMCG Gurus. For more information on the latest FMCG Gurus reports, including the COVID-19 survey series, please email [email protected]

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