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The Analyst's Take: Consumers' concern about nutrition grows during COVID-19 pandemic

Claire Morton
Comparing a 2021 snapshot with a 2017 version shows how the COVID-19 pandemic changed consumers' awareness of overall health issues, weight and immune support.

A through line in Nutrition Business Journal's reporting has been that the events of 2020 and 2021 significantly altered consumer behavior and subsequent sales of health and wellness products. One such effect is a shift in the health conditions and goals that are driving sales. Consumer research in mid-2021 further illustrated this shift in health concerns.

NBJ's Changing Consumer Report presents a snapshot of the consumer mindset in 2021, with important comparisons to longitudinal research from 2017, giving a view of pre- and post-COVID perceptions. This research points to an increased concern about personal health, a shift in how consumers define their health, the values that are the most important to core segments and how all of this fluctuates across generations.


One of the largest increases across health concerns from 2017 to 2021 was in mood and mental health, one of the "adjacent conditions" that has had massive growth over 2020 and 2021, with concern jumping to 38% in 2021 from 34% in 2017. Weight management/loss also had a large increase, to 45% from 39%, although we hadn't previously seen such a direct link of this top concern to sales in the market. This increasing concern could speak to a forward-looking opportunity, however.

One of the most telling shifts, though, might be in respondents citing "Getting the proper nutrients" jumping to 30% from 24%, signaling awareness has been driven by a global health crisis. While many general health products aren't including immune health claims, consumers are showing an increased understanding of supporting overall health.

NBJ's Changing Consumer Special Report 2022Learn more in NBJ's Changing Consumer Special Report, the industry's go-to guide for data and insights on consumers' changing attitudes and habits.


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