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The saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is so relevant in the current scenario wherein the world is grappling with the pandemic. Over the years, the nutrition segment has grown significantly owing to a fundamental change in attitude, behavior, loyalties and buying habits. This year, we have observed an irrevocable shift in consumer consumption patterns across industries with the nutrition category taking the lead.
On the cusp of a tipping point before the pandemic, the wellness movement across the globe is witnessing a significant change with holistic health, immunity, and nutrition becoming quintessential buzzwords. One such shift is the preventive approach to wellness taking the center stage. As per the BCG COVID19 Consumer Sentiment Survey 2020, over 28 per cent of consumers have opted for nutritional supplements vis-a-vis the pre-COVID-19 era, which shows a growing inclination for nutritional solutions to support overall wellbeing. Therefore, a new consumer has emerged who is seeking optimum nutrition and strong immunity through quality health supplements, immunity supporting products along with regular exercise to maintain holistic health. Inevitably, this new consumer is redefining the value and consumption of nutrition and wellness products through the following key trends.
Rising consciousness towards the ingredient story
Over the past few months, there has been a surfeit of communication about making healthier food choices, supporting immunity, eating clean, and so on. However, through all this, consumers are moving back to roots and looking for products consisting of native ingredients. Increasingly, millennials are now embracing traditional ingredients that support immunity as a preventive measure. Home remedies such as kadha and common kitchen ingredients believed to have health benefits such as turmeric, tulsi, ginger and amla, among others are witnessing an increase in uptake in over 51 per cent of the households in India (source: Google trends).
Owing to the growing awareness, consumers today are keen on finding out the ingredients that go into a product and the product value chain itself, i.e. the seed to supplement journey. Therefore, there is more emphasis on the quality, safety and authenticity of the product leading to trials, and subsequent repeats, ultimately making it to the consumers’ preferred list.
Changing in-home consumption
As people continue to stay at home, we are witnessing a clear shift in the in-home consumption patterns. There has been a marked rise in self-reliance or the ‘do it yourself’ values. From cooking a nutritious meal for oneself to adopting fitness regimes at home, people are exploring and learning newer ways. Mothers, too, are finding innovative ways to create a new and healthy experience for their kids with a focus on nutrition and preventive healthcare. Over 82 per cent of mothers are consuming online content around nutritious and tasty recipe ideas. This is an interesting trend, as consumers are choosing safety over external help, paving the way for an ‘Atma Nirbhar’ lifestyle.
Online is the new offline
The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption. Increased ‘work from home’ periods have led to a rise in the time spent online by consumers. With social platforms having turned into powerful discovery and distribution channels, consumers across age groups have shifted to the online channel. A trend that is here to stay.
The growing digital acceptance has led to the emergence of social commerce. Consumers are far more active digitally and engaged through online communities centered on common interests such as health and wellness, fitness, lifestyle, beauty, cooking and so on. Emerging online communities are allowing consumers to stay updated and connected, as they bond with relevant communities sharing interests and passion. This movement is paving the way for social commerce, making it an indisputable market breakout trend for brands in the coming years.
As consumers across the economies plan for life post-COVID-19, the heightened interest in holistic healthcare through balanced nutrition will continue to drive consumption patterns. Hence, I consider health care with nutraceuticals and health supplements to provide significant economic value. With changing buying behavior and self-care becoming the new essential, immunity and wellness will be at the forefront of trends giving rise to innovations. These trends, to my mind, open a huge opportunity for both brands and micro-entrepreneurs to reset priorities and thrive in the new environment.