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The World Market for Health and Wellness Packaged Food

August 2018

The health and wellness foods industry is experiencing growth ahead of regular packaged food, driven by changing consumer preferences towards a more natural offering, aiming to adopt a more holistic approach to a healthy diet. This has resulted in rapid shifts in the category/brand portfolios of key manufactures, as well as growing innovation from smaller players. This report offers a global overview of the health and wellness foods industry, and highlights major trends and developments.

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Changing consumer health preferences towards “more natural” is driving growth in the HW food industry

Consumers are looking for a more holistic approach to a healthy diet and natural is the most sought-after feature. The big winners of this trend are organic and free from foods, particularly in Western Europe and North America, where fashionable eating habits and health-conscious consumers are the key drivers of growth. In the case of organic foods, safety reasons are also crucial, especially in emerging countries such as China.

M&A is the key answer to compete in the HW space

The dominance of the top packaged food companies has been challenged in recent years by the growth of regional and independent companies active in the HW segment. Many consumers have signalled distrust of the established food industry, which, coupled with fast-changing consumer preferences towards HW foods, has resulted in rapid shifts in category and brand portfolios on the part of leading manufacturers, resulting in active M&A activity in the space.

Fortified/functional challenged in the Western world while booming in emerging countries

Fortified/functional (FF) has lost traction in Western Europe and North America for its perception as a more artificial and processed offering, coupled with a crackdown on probiotic health claims in the EU in 2013 that cost the yoghurt industry billions. However, FF is showing an outstanding performance in emerging markets, which stems from its need to minimise nutritional gaps and from probiotics remaining a hot topic in APAC.

Shopping reinvented: internet retailing and subscription services pivotal in the HW industry

Digital connectivity is continuing to alter methods of doing business with digitally-inspired models emerging rapidly in the foods industry. Internet retailing is the fastest-growing channel for HW foods in key developed markets (US, Canada, UK, Germany) together with China. In addition, subscription meal boxes aimed at consumers looking for only organic foods or dairy/gluten-free offerings are booming in the Western world.


Key findings

Global Outlook

North America maintains lead, but APAC follows closer
HW industry gets over tough times to outperform the regular offering
Natural is the key priority for consumers
Organic and free from continue to lead the way
The potential of FF and BFY remains in emerging markets
Scandinavians buy the most HW foods per person
BFY is key for growth in India, but pushes down US performance
Internet retailing takes a bite out of grocery retailers
Could vending bring new opportunities to the HW foods space?

Leading Companies and Brands

Big food players lose ground to smaller companies and private label
But big food players heavily focused on baby food and dairy succeeded
Key 5 companies remain top of the rankings
Acquisitions seem to be the key strategy to compete in the HW space
Natural, digestion and organic: key features spurring growth
Fast growth in HW spurred by snacks and dairy products

Top Five Trends Shaping the Industry

Examining five trends shaping the HW food industry
Assessing opportunities in the free from space
Ancient grains at the heart of free from innovation
Organics: limited to developed countries but China
China, Italy and France to watch for organic offerings
Perception of organic differs in Western markets and China
What’s next? changing ethics
Fortified foods booming in APAC
Addressing malnutrition through micronutrient fortification
Energy-boosting is the most sought-after positioning in HW foods
Natural energy will lead the way
Shopping reinvented: HW foods for a more targeted subscription box
Sun Basket and Mindful Chef differentiate by tapping into key HW trends
Areas of opportunity


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