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Consumer interest in health and wellness on the rise

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 05-Aug-2010

Consumers are continuing to increase spending on products for health and wellness – with a renewed focus on whole foods as a foundation, according to a new report from the Hartman Group.

“More than ever, consumers view fresh, real and clean food as the foundation for health and wellness,” the market research organization reported. “Consumers believe that a fresh, real and clean diet is the first step to treating and preventing disease, supporting vitality and mental energy.”

The organization carried out an online survey involving 2744 respondents to find out about US consumers’ attitudes toward health and wellness, their sources of information, and triggers for changing behaviors. It found that the average household spends $148.48 a month – or 19 percent of all monthly spending – on categories that have a ‘wellness halo’.

Those products could include foods with a short ingredients list, fortified foods, supplements, or those that are lower in cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, and salt.

According to the report, Reimagining Health and Wellness 2010, engagement with health and wellness messages is triggered by different factors depending on age group.

“Aging and changing health are key triggers for older cohorts, while energy and stress trigger awareness for younger cohorts,” the report said.

And the organization said that the first ‘significant’ realization of a need to participate in health and wellness occurs between the ages of 40 and 50 with changes in appearance, the onset of minor health complaints, having less energy, or weight gain.

Hartman Group president and COO Laurie Demeritt said: “Increased spending on products beneath a wellness umbrella, particularly in fresh food categories, reflects what we have been witnessing for more than a decade now. Consumer understanding of wellness has moved away from traditional notions of condition treatment and disease prevention and toward attaining a better quality of life.

“They are looking for products and services that help them meet their wellness goals and aspirations. With virtually all consumers involved in wellness on some level, this represents tremendous opportunities for CPG manufacturers and retailers.”

The organization said that participation in wellness behaviors is often triggered or intensified as consumers learn more about wellness, adding that the rise of the internet has given consumers unprecedented access to health and nutrition information.

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