How are health and wellness trends reshaping new product development?


How are health and wellness trends reshaping new product development?

Studies have shown that these last couple of years shoppers want meaningful and purposeful lives, especially after dealing with COVID-19. Health management, strength, wellness, mental health, stability, and happiness are now at the heart of the conscious shopper’s preoccupations. NielsenIQ research shows that 47% of shoppers who are proactive about their health choose healthier options to live a longer, healthier life.

Health and wellness first

Shoppers now view health and wellness as part of their everyday lives. The CPG industry can no longer think about health and wellness through the lens of diet culture, niche health and fitness crazes and fitness phases, while supporting this via a small section in the store.

This is no longer satisfactory. It does not meet the needs of the shopper. Companies have an essential role to play in producing products that meet health and wellness shoppers’ expectations, and in displaying transparent information about their products both on-pack and online. When looking at new product development, the focus should be on identifying categories’ trends in health and wellness, opportunities, and threats. By doing this, brands can ensure that their future products will meet shoppers’ needs and won’t be left aside for a healthier item. According to NielsenIQ, 72% of shoppers feel that companies have a big role to play in the availability and access of healthy food for all.

Health will remain a focus for shoppers and continue to be a driver of growth, and as many companies compete in the same category, health and wellness has also become an asset to sales. Manufacturers and retailers must keep a pulse on shoppers’ evolving needs to guide their strategy as they allocate resources and choose which innovations to prioritize, especially when it comes to new product development.

Adapt to shoppers’ needs

When developing a new product, brands need to adapt to shoppers increasingly caring about their health and they need to react to any opportunity or threat.

To achieve this, brands can look at generating a category read comparing their future product and the products already on the market. This is very important to know how their future product’s nutritional information will range in comparison to the products already on the market in the same category.

A new product that would nutritionally range “less good” than another competitor’s product might be left behind by the conscious shopper. A study from Deloitte states that on a scale of one (health is not a consideration when choosing food) to seven (health is my primary consideration when choosing food), respondents in the Netherlands scored a 5.10 and a 5.14 in Belgium. This research shows that some shoppers would choose a product that they find healthier over another one.

This applies in real-life situations when shoppers look at products’ Nutri-Scores while shopping. The Nutri-Score supports shoppers in their purchasing decision by making it easier to understand how healthy a product is. It demonstrates the overall nutritional value of food products with a scorecard from A to E, color-coded from green to red. It is widely used in France and was introduced in other markets like the Netherlands.

It is therefore important for companies to look at how they range. However, there is so much data available about products in one category that it is important for companies to use the right tools that generate up-to-date data and that offer companies an easily readable and insightful category read that will enable them to compete effectively or to launch a successful product by identifying strengths and weaknesses in health and wellness.

Companies also need to make sure that their product’s information is transparent and easy to understand for the shoppers. To achieve transparency, labels can be used, the Nutri-Score label for example is particularly easy to spot and for shoppers to understand. Brands should also have a good completeness score by making sure their product’s attributes are filled out so online shoppers can make an informed choice.

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