The emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has boosted consumer interest in being healthy. New habits around preventative health including immunity-boosting and mental wellbeing are set to play an even greater role in the pursuit of an optimal holistic state of wellbeing. The current climate has also reinforced a back-to-basics approach where affordability, safety and localism become more important than ever to meet the demands of a more empowered and educated consumer.
COVID-19 has put health front and centre. However, there is a tension between increased demand for health and wellness offerings (generally premium) and reduced discretionary spending. Strategies around value reassessment will become crucial in the current climate.
Consumers are taking greater ownership of themselves and prioritising their health, hence prevention has taken precedence. A focus on functional food, especially immunity-related ingredients, can help to meet consumers’ most immediate needs.
Communicating added value by addressing not only products but also supporting overall wellbeing, including mood enhancement and mental wellbeing, will be key in the long run.
The pandemic has accelerated demand for food provenance and ingredients that are well known and trusted. Local sourcing is increasingly sought in connection with high quality and food safety as well as a means of supporting the local economy.
The reinforcement of a back-to-basics approach also brings accessibility and affordable nutrition under the spotlight as disposable incomes fall.
Scrutiny of the supply chain has intensified as consumers prioritise assurance of safety and transparency about the food they eat. This opens up opportunities for food certifications and services that enable a more transparent and reliable “farm-to-fork” journey. Digitalisation and blockchain technology will be crucial to achieve this.
Tech-enabled solutions take a further leap forward in preventative health on the back of COVID-19. Healthy recipe apps and platforms to identify functional and nutritious foods help to deliver tailored experiences and achieve individual health goals. Digital platforms can help build brand awareness and connect with consumers in a more meaningful way.
A more regulated retail environment with stricter food labelling is also expected to evolve as a means of supporting consumers to make healthier food choices.
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