Health-conscious consumers changing marketing trends

Consumers are paying more attention to what they eat, especially the impact on their health. PHOTO | FILE
Consumers are paying more attention to what they eat, especially the impact on their health. PHOTO | FILE | NMG 

The rise of health conscious consumers in Kenya and globally has led to a shift in the food and fitness market with over 180,000 products worldwide reformulating in 2016 to meet the growing demand for better nutrition, according to research.

Capitalising on this trend, Kenyan marketers are also moving to alter their product offerings, launch new, more health conscious foods, and shift the emphasis of their marketing campaigns.

“For food and beverage companies, sodium and sugar were most often targeted for removal in reformulation and whole grains and vitamins were the most common nutrients to be added.

Health and wellness topics are more frequently top-of-mind and, as instances of non-communicable diseases continue to rise at alarming rates, people are looking to use products and services that will help them lead fuller, healthier, longer, and more productive lives,” reported multinational professional services firm, Deloitte in its study on Health and Wellness Consumer Goods.

“The traditional consumer drivers of price, taste, and convenience have been joined by emerging drivers such as health and wellness, safety, experience, social impact, and transparency.

Roughly half of the 5,000 consumers surveyed for the study stated that their purchase decisions are significantly influenced by these new drivers,” it reported.

Another study on Global Food and Drink Trends 2017 by research firm Mintel Group reported a 257 per cent increase in the number of vegan food and beverage launches in 2016, compared to five years ago, due to a growing interest in vegetarian and vegan products by consumers.

It also predicted that the food and drink industry globally will welcome more products that emphasise plants and packaged products that leverage plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities.

In Kenya, milk processing firm, Brookside Dairy, has been a prominent mover in this new direction with the launch last month of its new Fruitness range of yoghurts, which contain real fruit, and are produced without preservatives or artificial colours.

Yoghurt consumption in the country rose from two kilogrammes per person per year in 2013 to three kilogrammes by 2015, representing a 50 per cent rise in just two years, due to yoghurt’s nutritious value, according to a 2016 report by global research firm, Ken Research.

“Consumers’ lifestyles are changing especially those of the young generation. They are in control of their health and pay more attention to what they consume and purchase, thus food manufactures have to stay on top of this trend and personalise their products for this new crop of consumers in order to stay ahead of their competition and increase sales,” said Stella Kimani, a brand strategist.

These consumers have also led to an increase of investments in fitness and wellness centres in the country.

Globally, the market is worth $3.7 trillion with fitness and mind-body accounting for $542 billion of sales a year, according to a report released this year by the Global Wellness Institute, a market research firm.

“A burgeoning middle class in fast-growing economies such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya are becoming more interested in fitness and healthy eating.

However they are not only spending their rising incomes on beauty, relaxation, fitness and sports, and healthy eating they are also showing increasing interest in products and treatments inspired by local traditions,” reported Global Wellness Institute.