Natural Foods Merchandiser

Top 10 health and wellness trends for 2005

Based on annual research studies of more than 200,000 consumers, the Natural Marketing Institute has identified health and wellness trends for products, consumer attitudes and lifestyle choices. These trends include:

  1. The immediacy of health and wellness escalates. Americans show increasing tendencies to seek immediate gratification, especially as it relates to health and wellness. Whether it?s treating an illness or losing weight, the trend is clear—they want it now.
  2. The three F?s of food trends: fiber, functionality and fat. With the launch of the government?s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, increased sales opportunities exist for products with whole grain and fiber. In addition, consumers appear predisposed to choose foods for specific health issues. And look for a new definition of fat, moving from ?low/no? products to those containing specific types of fats.
  3. Sources of influence become multi-dimensional. Although there are many ways consumer behavior can be influenced, the leading sources are rooted in two concepts—authority and self-discovery. Watch for increased influence from authoritative government agencies and self-discovery sources such as the Internet—both have affected consumer behavior over the past six years.
  4. Nutritional supplements: Can new science and new claims revitalize the category? Challenges to the nutritional supplement market are being answered by condition-specific supplements and a blurring of the line with traditional over-the-counter medications. Watch for nonpill delivery systems and new products backed by more scientific and clinical research.
  5. The healthy get healthier. Based on NMI?s proprietary model of consumer behavior, it is apparent that Americans are becoming polarized with regard to wellness. The healthiest are getting healthier and the unhealthiest are becoming less healthy. Evidence for the trend is clear—almost 20 million American adults have moved to either end of the health and wellness spectrum during the past four years.
  6. From low-carb to slow-carb: a redefinition. The low-carb market has faced trials and tribulations in the last year. In 2005, look for trends that redefine low-carb products, once closely linked with weight loss. Watch for the alignment of low-carb with the diabetic market, concepts related to glycemic index levels and the overall balance of blood sugar levels related to energy management.
  7. Reality gaps between what consumers say and what they do. Trends show an increasing gap between consumer attitudes and behavior. Taking multi-vitamins, improving diet regimens, exercising, using environmentally friendly products and improving basic nutrition are all things consumers say are important, but may not actually do. Significant industry opportunities exist to transfer these heightened consumer attitudes into product use.
  8. Weight loss: stability, challenges and apathy. After years of increases, the number of obese Americans stabilized in 2004. Beyond the challenge of finding effective weight loss products, watch for new lifestyle approaches targeted to specific consumer segments. It?s important to note that some Americans want to lose weight because of their appearance; others diet to improve their health.
  9. Planetary health and wellness: Is it cool to be green? Personal health and wellness continue to be linked to planetary health and wellness. Look for increased consumer interest in environmental/green packaged goods, hybrid vehicles, green building and energy-efficient products.
  10. The organic market: finding the real value proposition. Despite double-digit growth for organic foods and beverages, many consumers still don?t understand what ?organic? is—particularly the specific benefits of using organics. Watch for growth in nonfood organic categories, such as personal care, apparel, wine/beer and pet care.

Steve French will talk about top trends in health and wellness on Thursday, March 17, from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 3/p. 34

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