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“The pandemic caused health and wellness trends to accelerate across the grocery industry, trends that are causing consumers to take a second look at their food,” says Ava Duering, competitiveness analyst with the Alberta government.
According to a July 2022 Deloitte survey of over 2,000 adults in the U.S., since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have become more interested in maintaining and enhancing their health. The survey showed that while the cost of food has increased over the past few months, for fresh food producers and grocers looking to compete on more than just price, there may be a bright spot - consistent demand for health and wellness.
The Deloitte survey also showed that health and wellness is an important factor influencing food purchasing behaviour.
- 84% of respondents consider health and wellness when purchasing fresh food.
- 80% of respondents believe fresh food is healthier than packaged or processed food marketed as healthy.
- 75% of respondents actively seek more personalized nutrition, up 13 percentage points from one year ago.
The latest Consumer Corner, which shares consumer trends related to the agri-food industry with Alberta’s agriculture and food industry, highlights these trends.
Duering says there are some key takeaways for Alberta producers, processors and retailers from the latest trends and surveys:
- Producers, processors and retailers who can deliver on food that contains the ingredients that consumers deem as healthy and reformulate products containing ingredients deemed as unhealthy will likely retain and attain consumers.
- Healthy food means different things to different people. Therefore, food producers, processors and retailers can utilize market research to help target their marketing efforts towards the appropriate demographics.
- Many consumers believe that fruits and vegetables, whether fresh or as an ingredient in other food products and beverages, have a beneficial health impact. Alberta fresh fruit and vegetable producers and processors can capitalize on this market opportunity.
- Consumers are seeing the link between immune support and the microbiome and are ready to eat products that have good gut bacteria such as healthy yogurts. Processors and retailers can benefit from this trend by producing and marketing products to appeal to the healthfulness of yogurt and dairy products.
- Consumers may base purchasing decisions on information provided by trusted sources. Therefore, it can be beneficial for companies to utilize sources that consumers trust such as registered dietitians and personal healthcare professionals when marketing their products.
- Producers, processors, and retailers can maximize their potential market share by capitalizing on the e-commerce trend further entrenched during the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop both an in-store marketing strategy as well as an e-commerce strategy. E-commerce provides the convenience that consumers became accustomed to during the pandemic.
“The key market drivers for healthy food are increasing adoption of healthy lifestyle, consumption of prebiotic and probiotic food, digestion and food intolerance issues, and building immunity and disease prevention of diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes,” says Duering.
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