Why 'wellness' sells

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Wellness has firmly ingratiated itself in the minds of mainstream food and beverage companies, according to a leading UK branding consultancy.

“Not many years ago, ‘wellness’ was just for sandal wearing vegan hippies. Lately everyone is getting in on the act: wellness tea, wellness spas, wellness cereal bars, even wellness pet food,”​ said Neil Cavalier-Smith, managing director of The Healthy Marketing Team in a recent article in Brand Strategy magazine.

He said people in western societies were becoming more and more interested in ideas of wellness, with nutrition playing an important part in a wider holistic discussion that encompassed ethical ideas about healthy living on both a personal and environmental level.

“Our body doesn’t care if fruit oppresses workers or destroys the rainforest, but brands like Innocent have found a price premium by assuring us “we don’t crush any of these” (workers),”​ he said. “Increasingly, ‘health’ is going hand in hand with ‘ethical’ and consumers are willing to pay for ‘healthy me, healthy planet’.”

Market researcher, HealthFocus International notes 67 per cent of UK shoppers consider environmental issues when buying food compared to 31 per cent in 2003.

Companies like McDonald’s were getting onboard by going green – literally where stores have been given a green lick of paint to replace its iconic red veneer. McDonald’s has also switched to organic milk and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee.

The effect of the environment on the self is also manifested in concerns about the presence of toxins in the food supply with HealthFocus finding 47 per cent of consumers rated the “accumulation of toxins in my body” as the number one health concern in 18 countries.

“Concern about life-threatening issues (heart health, cancer etc.) is declining whereas lifestyle and short term concerns such as stress, tiredness and allergies are on the rise,”​ Cavalier-Smith said.

Consultant and author, Peter Wennström, who works with The Healthy Marketing Team on branding initiatives, observed at the recent World Food Technology and Ingredient Forum in Rotterdam:“Brands which are active and take you by the hand and say, ‘yes it’s a tough world out there, let’s face it together’ will be the ones left standing when the dust settles”.

Related topics: Suppliers

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