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Monday, April 9, 2012

Targeted health and wellness foods: What's inside

Taste, convenience, and price are typically cited as the most influential factors when consumers are grocery shopping.  But when shoppers are making purchase decisions based on their own specific health concerns or those of other household members, the health benefit reputation of a food, beverage, or ingredient is by far the most compelling driver.
This is among the findings from a proprietary consumer surveys conducted by Packaged Facts for our report on Targeted Health and Wellness Foods and Beverages: The U.S. Market and Global Trends (March 2012).  Other Packaged Facts research surveys show similar results, as health benefit reputation is overwhelmingly the number-one reason shoppers buy high-antioxidant and high-omega food and beverage products.
According to a May-June 2011 survey conducted by Packaged Facts—with a sample of 2,000 U.S. adults who in aggregate were Census representative on the primary demographic measures of gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region, and the presence of children in the household— nearly two-thirds (63%)  of U.S. grocery shoppers have purchased a food or beverage in the past year for the purpose of addressing one or more of 22 common health and wellness concerns.
 Notably, a larger percentage of adults consumers choose foods or beverages for the management of two specific health concerns—cholesterol (24%) and digestive health (23%)—than for key general functional or quality-of-life benefits such as energy levels (17%) or appearance/beauty (13%).
In seeking to address such health concerns, shoppers are proactive about doing research to educate themselves about dietary nutrients.  Just over half of targeted health and wellness product shoppers consider health, nutrition, and wellness websites to be among the most valuable sources of information — the type of information that contributes to the all-important health benefit reputation of a product.  In fact, these shoppers consider the Internet to be significantly more useful than other types of media, including journals, magazines, newspapers, TV programming, and radio.
Particularly through the Internet, therefore, it is critical that marketers of targeted health and wellness products convey the health benefits of their products clearly, consistently, and frequently, based on authentic cultural traditions and legitimate scientific research data.  Even when shopper purchasing of targeted health and wellness foods is only for a nice-to-have potential benefit, credibility is crucial to product success.

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