Consumers get the (health) bug

By Joanna Kent

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted consumer behaviours, accelerating trends we’ve seen develop in recent years. From the mega boom in online shopping while the doors of retail stores were closed, to the rise of home-baking as consumers channel their inner Paul Hollywood, and the increase in e-gaming as people switch to socialising online. However, the pandemic has also breathed new life into other trends that support our health and wellbeing, at a time when we need it most.

Consumers today are more aware of the need to take care of both of their physical and mental health. Many are now regularly donning their trainers or jumping on their pelotons to increase their exercise or taking up gardening to support their mental wellbeing. As well as taking up new health hobbies, consumers are actively looking to nutrition to support their wellbeing. 

Recent research[1] conducted by one of SEC Newgate’s clients, functional ingredients manufacturer BENEO, highlights that improving mental wellbeing, overall mood and physical energy levels are some of the most important aspects that have gained momentum as a result of the pandemic. 1 in 3 European consumers are juggling with feeling tired and lack of energy as Covid life takes its toll. Staying fit and active and having a balanced diet have also been major concerns during the pandemic and 2 in 3 consumers now see a healthy diet as key to controlling their future health. Many are also focusing on ways to boost their immunity in a bid to protect themselves from the dangers of Covid-19 in the future. As a result, we’re seeing established trends such as gut health and the importance of blood glucose management now coming further to the fore, as preventative health gains fresh focus.

Supporting a key element of our personal inner defence system, the gut microbiome, can be done in a number of ways using the right ingredients, such as prebiotics, or ingredients that reduce blood glucose response. In light of the pandemic, consumer interest in these products is now growing. 

Given the starting gun for the race to reformulate has officially been fired now the Government has confirmed the forthcoming ad ban on HFSS[2] products, we can expect a raft of products launched to cater for this rising demand. Thanks to companies like BENEO, manufacturers have a range of solutions on offer to help them harness these new opportunities and support consumer health from many angles, and those that can do so effectively, will certainly be the ones to watch.

[1] Insites Consulting conducted an online quantitative survey in October and November 2020 in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, UK: 1000 consumers/ country = 5,000 consumers in total

[2] High, Fat, Sugar, Salt