The health and nutrition industry is constantly evolving, influenced by trends that emerge as a result of ever-changing consumer health priorities.
Some major drivers of change in more recent years include the rising sustainability movement, growing mistrust of processed and mass-produced foods, increasing adoption of healthier diets, and the postulation of ‘food as medicine.’ Overall, there seems to be a paradigm shift towards more ‘natural’ ways of living.
To better understand this movement, Bryter conducted a survey with more than 1000 US-based customers to evaluate the health goals that are most important to them, the types of products they use to meet these goals, and the criteria they consider and prioritize when buying each of these products.
Key Health Priorities
The global movement for mental health awareness and investment is reflected in the results of this study, with 60% of respondents across all age groups stating maintaining good mental health as an extremely high priority goal. On the other hand, aesthetic health, which entails looking young and looking good, emerges as a low priority goal across all ages, especially when compared to physical and mental wellbeing.
Besides these general trends that are consistent across all age ranges, there are some significant disparities observed across age groups. For example, those aged 18-34 focus less on maintenance of a healthy weight, and prioritize enhancing mental and physical performance more than older consumers. Conversely, those over 55 are significantly more likely to focus on reducing the risk of serious diseases like cancer and diabetes, as well as preventing the onset of diseases that impact mental performance such as Alzheimer’s.
Products that help them achieve their health goals
The main health goals and priorities can be grouped into 3 overarching categories - mental health, physical health, and optimized health.
Overall, a general trend is observed across all three of these categories, where the use of natural or novel approaches is more prevalent amongst younger consumers, while older consumers tend to favor more traditional products such as vitamins or non-prescription products. An outlier to this pattern is the use of herbal remedies, which has relatively balanced appeal across all age groups and demonstrates how products with more niche natural appeal can move into the mainstream.
While vitamins generally emerge as the most widely used product to meet the majority of health goals, newer natural or novel approaches are becoming more popular to achieve specific physical health goals, such as prebiotics/probiotics for gut health and home remedies to reduce the risk of allergies.
Priorities while choosing these products
The products that consumers prefer and use are indicative of the underlying attributes that are most important to them. Older consumers tend to prefer products that are grounded in science and research or backed by healthcare professionals, whereas younger consumers are placing increasing importance on products being natural, sustainable, or new and innovative.
However, in the case of more serious health goals like reducing the risk of serious diseases, young consumers are similarly oriented to their older counterparts, and tend to place greater value on evidence-based attributes.
In order to be successful, it is important for manufacturers of health and nutrition products to be cognizant of the nuanced needs of consumers in this space. They must innovate to keep up with these evolving trends and to stay relevant, especially amongst younger consumers.
If you would like to access the full version of this report and dataset for this study, you can download a copy of it here.