The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences, including not just risks to physical health but increasingly needs around emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The need to address gaps that are resurfacing and newly emerging priorities in this space calls for immediate action from business in order to sustain relevance and ensure longer term benefits through investment in product and service evolution, digitalisation and technology, as well as societal contributions.
COVID-19 has been a far-reaching health crisis, as its negative impacts go beyond the physical health of those who contract the virus, and affect the emotional wellbeing of many people. Three key factors are escalating the need to factor in the emotional aspects of wellbeing: continued health concerns, disrupted lifestyles and the economic fallout.
Consistency in wellness routines at home can bring internal balance, pleasure and happiness. Active ingredients can be explored that promote emotional health and factor in the whole ecosystem, including body, mind and the outward manifestations of health.
Consumers are increasingly comfortable with managing aspects of their emotional health through drinks and tobacco products, and are likely to demand more need state segmentation and more ambitious formulations containing functional and herbal ingredients, such as adaptogenic herbs, traditional herbs and more taboo substances, such as cannabinoids.
With consumers looking for healthier ways to indulge without the consequences, this brings opportunities for permissible indulgence. Food brands that pay attention to a mental wellbeing positioning through new ingredient formulations, as well as digital applications to educate and support in this area, can gain loyalty among consumers.
Innovation opportunities are widening as consumers become more open to using technology to monitor and manage stress and anxiety. As physical interactions continue to be limited, companies should invest in devices that facilitate connection, and even venture into haptic or AR/VR technology to create a sense of connection.
Retailers and restaurants should work to minimise emotional stress by providing consumers with a safe and easy space to navigate their shopping and dining experiences. This might include investment in digital services and apps that help address emotional health issues, and technologies that are well suited for a contactless world.
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