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Health-Conscious Consumers and the Demand for Holistic Nutrition

a bowl of salad with the text Eating for Me

Gone are the days when commercials advertising Twinkies and Coke were the main sources of consumer nutrition knowledge. The easy access to near-infinite information is making consumers increasingly aware of their nutritional needs. As a result, they have become more when it comes to healthier choices. In fact, the global market for organic foods will be worth $323 billion by 2024. Moreover, 64 percent of consumers believe that healthfulness is an important factor in choosing food and beverage products. Clearly, eating is not just about taste and sustenance anymore, and diets are about more than just cutting calories and counting kilograms. Now, nutrition has become a key element in achieving holistic health and wellness. As such, health-conscious consumers are heavily influencing developments in the food and beverage industry.

A Holistic Approach to Health and Nutrition

According to Ed Kopko’s upcoming book–Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula for Taking on Challenges and Achieving Happiness and Success–”the pursuit of good health and wellness is an important strategy when seeking to live the boldest life possible.” The meaning of the phrase “health and wellness” has evolved over the years. For many health-conscious consumers, it doesn’t just refer to a lack of illness. Instead, achieving health and wellness embodies a holistic state where mental, physical and emotional conditions are in sync. Accordingly, a holistic approach to health and nutrition involves the consideration of various factors when it comes to food choices. These include health history, emotional state and lifestyle habits.

Many existing diets and nutrition guidelines use a blanket approach to giving food advice. They fail to consider many contributing factors in the eating habits of individuals. Adversely, the response to dietary changes is highly variable among different people. There are differences in body types, blood types, existing medical conditions, and several other attributes. What is good for one is not necessarily always good for everyone else. As a result, health-conscious consumers are taking control of their diets for holistic health and wellness. They are making food choices based on what they think will make them feel better.

A holistic health and wellness lifestyle means greater retail opportunities for food companies with a healthy focus.
New Nutrition Business Director and Founder Julian Mellentin weighs in on the rising trend of holistic health and wellness.

Wellness Beyond Food

Innova Market Insights “Top Ten Food Trends for 2019” revealed that the No. 6 trend this year is “Eating for Me”. The idea of “food that works for me” has encouraged a lot of health-conscious consumers to follow diets that promote holistic health and wellness. Some dieters choose Keto because it doesn’t involve deprivation, unlike traditional weight-loss programs. People who follow Paleo appreciate the strong focus on lifestyle practices involved. In addition, plenty of health-conscious consumers modify existing diets to match their preferences. For instance, instead of being a vegetarian, dieters are opting to be “flexitarian”.

Aside from nutrition, many health-conscious consumers are making choices based on ethical criteria. For them, a holistic approach to health involves an attitude of mindfulness. They try to understand everything about a particular food or beverage product. Thoughtful consideration drives their purchases. They ask questions about how a product is made, as well as where and under what conditions. The growing market for organic, non-GMO and plant-based foods demonstrates such mindfulness.

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Health-conscious consumers seek greener options that address both health and sustainability concerns. Ultimately, they want food that’s better for them and better for the planet as well.

Meeting the Holistic Needs of Health-Conscious Consumers

One example of a brand that advocates holistic health and wellness is Pukka Herbs. The company offers herbal tea products with 100-percent certified organic and ethically sourced ingredients. Pukka draws inspiration from Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old holistic health system. As such, it also provides health-conscious consumers with well-being programs that address specific areas. Some of the areas included are sleep, stress, and focus. Moreover, Pukka actively pursues sustainability initiatives. It maps its carbon footprint and has set targets for carbon reduction. In 2017, Unilever acquired Pukka as part of its efforts to bolster the CPG giant’s sustainable growth model.

Meanwhile, many other companies leverage technology to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers.

The Campbell Soup Co. invested  $32 million in data-driven personalized nutrition. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods Inc. launched a venture fund to improve food systems. Through the initiative, the company invests in the development of technologies that can sustainably feed the growing population. The Kroger Co. has a shopping app that helps consumers with grocery purchase decisions. The app provides healthier alternatives through a scoring system for products.

Sally Lyons Wyatt DescribesA holistic approach to health doesn't have to be a difficult shopping experience.
Sure, consumers want a holistic approach to health, but do you know what else they want? An easy retail experience.

Helping Consumers Achieve their Health Goals

Understanding what health-conscious consumers want to achieve in terms of holistic health and wellness can lead to success. Just as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their needs, businesses in this space must develop an in-depth perception of multifaceted health goals. Of course, this would require them to have a 360-degree view of all consumer activities that revolve around health. Such a view will allow them to provide holistic solutions that would truly be relevant to their health-conscious consumers.

For more on this Bold Business series on gut health, check out this interview with gut health expert Dr. Steven Gundry, and this story on probiotics.

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