Wellness Takes on a New Meaning for Consumers
As more Americans become take an active interest in their health, it has become apparent that wellness doesn’t just correspond to the nutrients in their food. It has become an integral part of consumers’ everyday lives. In the presentation “Formulating & Marketing for Health,” Lynn Dornblaser, Director of Innovation & Insight at Mintel, explained how wellness is manifesting itself in the marketplace, and how food manufacturers are addressing consumers’ desire for it.
Looking at data on new product introductions in the United States, there has been growth in ethical and environmental claims. Dornblaser explained that usually this growth is about a food products’ packaging, not necessarily its formulation. This showcases consumers increased desire for environmentally-friendly and recyclable packaging and highlights the fact that wellness extends to a company’s environmental responsibility. In addition, 35% of all food product introductions contain “suitable for” claims, meaning they are suitable for diabetics, or they are Halal, or Kosher. “Consumers are demanding Kosher products not necessarily for dietary or religious reasons, but because in consumers’ minds it is more wholesome,” said Dornblaser.
This idea of wholesome can be seen in many new product introductions. For example, Kroger’s Wholesome@Home has a mac and cheese chilled side dish, which by all nutrition standards is not that healthy, but the brand name conveys a sense of home-cooked goodness.
Another factor influencing consumers’ perception of wellness is the authenticity of a product and where it came from. With consumers being more skeptical about the products they ingest, they are looking for products to come from the best possible origin. For some, this reflects the product’s sustainability, and for others it highlights a product’s safety. For example, 31% of fish eaters say that whether a fish is wild-caught or farm-raised is very important to them. Marketers are taking advantage of this, by playing up the item’s origin to add a sense of authenticity to the product. ChangingSeas has a Smoked Salmon that specifies on the packaging that is from farm-raised fish in Norway.
Although not a new concept, the idea that natural foods are healthier than non-natural foods is now apparent at all price points. Even more than that, natural has come to reflect the inherent goodness of a product’s ingredients. Companies are taking a softer approach to the natural claim, by seeking clean labels and minimal packaging. Dannon’s yogurt brand Pure gets that natural vibe across with its name and the fact that is only has seven ingredients. Consumers want to recognize the ingredients on the back of the product, so that instead of seeing strange chemical names they aren’t familiar with they see ingredients they know and trust.
Wellness is no longer about just claims and fortification of products; it extends the packaging, marketing, and aura of a product. Dornblaser predicts that the future will be about “clean fuel” but for your body.