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Monitor: Consumers worry about aging. Now what?

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New research shows that consumers' concerns about aging don’t automatically lead them to solutions and strategies offered by the natural products industry.

Natural Products Industry Health Monitor, Dec 14, 2022
 
As the world emerges from COVID-19, new challenges arise. In this feature, New Hope Network provides an ongoing update on those challenges and the opportunities they hold. Look for the Industry Health Monitor every other week to learn the major news that is affecting the natural products market immediately and the less obvious insights that could dictate where the market may struggle or thrive in the months to come.

Brain, heart, bone and vision health stood out as the biggest concerns in a recent survey from New Hope Networks’ NEXT Data & Insights Team. But in the same survey, large numbers of consumers admitted they don’t think they are disciplined enough in how they approach habits associated with healthy aging—habits that overlap with offerings at the heart of the natural products industry.

 

Asked about their efforts to maintain their health, only 24% of respondents said they were eating well enough. A paltry 31% were happy with their exercise habits and stress came in even lower, at 28%. It’s almost surprising that 40% were satisfied with their sleep routine. In each case, the remainder were either not satisfied or not including it in their heath management strategy.

The fact that 43% felt they were doing enough with their supplement regimen might sound encouraging, but it leaves 57% who are not, including the 22% who aren’t even trying. That’s particularly relevant given that that the supplement industry markets products to nearly every habit included in the survey. Even outside of nutrition, the natural products industry has a part to play. Medical intervention and prescription drugs are not part of the natural products world, but it’s not hard to find meditation books in the natural channel. Avoiding pollution is another tough challenge for natural products, but sunscreen is clearly a part of the clean label personal care category.

 

The combination of consumers unsatisfied with their habits and brands offering products to help them do better does not mean, however, there is a clear strategy for brands to follow. Education is important, though a majority of people probably know by now that exercise and diet, for instance, are essential to healthy aging. Sleep and managing stress seem almost as obvious. Surely, the word is out on sun damage. 

Instead, the marketing opportunity might be more about making healthy aging strategies simpler rather than making the connections any more obvious. Consumers might want to know what kind of exercises offer the best long-term results and which supplements support those exercises, as well as which simple dietary tweaks pay off the most with the least effort and which supplements compliment each other across the range of aging concerns. 

Nobody ever said aging was going to be easy—and the industry shouldn’t promise to make it so—but it can make it easier for consumers to figure out what to find and buy ;to help them live a life that’s not just longer, but healthier. 

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