Consumer trends in health and nutrition
Consumer habits and trends influence manufacturers' marketing strategies and packaging.
The global sports nutrition market today is worth $50.8 bn in 2018 and growing at around 8% rate. Today when self medication is on the rise and access to information about healthcare or illnesses is readily available online, companies need to better understand the key factors influencing the patients‘ or consumers’ decision making.
It seems that consumers are moving away from the approach solely based on over-the-counter medicine towards a more complex one. There is growing awareness of healthy lifestyle benefits, including nutrition and sports and people are changing their behaviour accordingly. It is clear that nutrition manufacturers need to adapt to these new trends to be relevant for consumers.
Fast-paced lives with constant pressure take their toll on consumers who experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis and mental health is becoming a major factor in consumer behaviour. For example, around 30% of Americans treat their stress and anxiety. Consumers seek products which help them relieve these symptoms, such as food with calming ingredients or aromatherapy.
Nutrition trends are omnipresent in lifestyle or social media. However, it seems that consumers overall look for a more traditional approach (such as low calories, low sugar). Many people also don’t limit themselves to one type of diet, but like to try various types, e.g. raw food, gluten-free, lactose-free, etc. Therefore companies should not limit their strategies to one type of diet (e.g. veganism) but target a larger audience. Increasingly, people decide to change their diet also for other reasons, such as environmental protection, animal welfare or support of local farmers, and tend to react well to products which highlight this in their branding. Doctors and nutritionists are the top diet information sources. However, online sources and social media are also very high on the list. People tend to self-diagnose more and more, which gives brands another channel how to interact with consumers directly.
Staying fit is not just about healthcare, but also about self-image, which is then shared on social media. Therefore marketing of sports nutrition needs to include collaboration with gyms but also online and social media presence to reach their audience. Men and women buy fitness nutrition such as hydration drinks or protein bars for similar reasons – for hydration and strength, to increase endurance or lose weight.
Prevention vs treatment
A healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet can be hard to maintain when coping with everyday work pressure and stress. Consumers who don’t have time to focus closely on their diet use dietary supplements as an additional means to keep fit. Especially in North America, vitamins and supplements are very popular for their convenience and cosumers rely on them to keep healthy. The multivitamin market is very competitive and companies need to look beyond convenience when targeting their customers.