In the third edition of Nutiani’s Global State of Health and Wellbeing report series, it is said that 86% of global consumers turn to functional and fortified foods to boost their health.
Notably, multifunctional benefits is the foremost claim that they would like to see on products.
“Our research supports what our customers and industry experts are saying. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of how health issues are linked, and how concerns in one area of physical or mental health can have a ripple effect on overall well-being,” said Charlotte Ortiz, global brand marketing manager of Nutiani.
According to the recently released report, approximately nine in 10 people believe that physical and mental well-being can impact other aspects of health.
Nearly half of the respondents think that mental well-being affects their ability to control their weight and exercise regularly, while seven in 10 people relate good digestive health to lower stress levels and stronger immunity.
“By addressing multiple concerns through a single, multifunctional product, brands can stay ahead of the curve and capture the emerging demand for holistic solutions, especially as cost of living is on the rise,” Ortiz added.
Besides product benefits, cost has also been identified as a key consideration for consumers when buying nutrition products due to inflation.
In fact, 38% are concerned that they may not be able to afford these products within the next 12 months.
“Nevertheless, consumers are more likely to associate higher value to a product that fulfils numerous needs. Brands can cater to this by using functional ingredients that offer a broad range of health benefits, such as probiotics and phospholipids.
“For consumers who have busy schedules and are cost-conscious, multifunctional products that simplify routines serve as a convenient and value-for-money method to manage their health.”
Science is still important
Supporting health claims with rigorous clinical research and evidence remains crucial to overcome skepticism and build consumer confidence.
In particular, science-based and actionable information is pivotal to purchase decision-making around new products, with six in 10 respondents saying that it is important to see clinically proven claims on packaging.
The report also stated that consumers in Japan and China tend to pay closer attention to the ingredients list or presence of science-backed claims.
“Furthermore, functional ingredients that do not impact flavour and can be applied in a variety of foods will help brands leap over other barriers, such as taste and the perception that a healthy lifestyle is too boring.”
Although there is a wide range of ingredients that offer health benefits, not all consumers are aware of their full functionality.
“For instance, probiotics are recognised for supporting the gut and digestive systems, but their effects on other areas, such as brain and mental health, are not as well known.
“While highly engaged and knowledgeable consumers will demonstrate interest in innovative nutrition products, it is imperative that brands do not overlook those who are less informed. Raising awareness of the ingredients’ functionalities will help drive purchases,” the report noted.
In addition, a number of consumers stated that talking to other consumers about their experiences has become an essential part of the purchase decision-making process.
Close to three-quarters of the respondents were influenced by others when choosing a product, with online sources gaining favour among those between the ages of 16 and 34.
“Encouraging customer testimonials, product reviews, and science-based messaging from relevant key opinion leaders are ways to establish credibility.”
In markets including France, Germany, Japan and South Korea, health and well-being were not ranked among the top three concerns of consumers, as topics like environmental issues, and economic and political stability took precedence.
“Helping consumers understand the interconnected nature of health and how it impacts different aspects of their lives may encourage them to adopt a more proactive approach and try nutrition products that have multiple benefits.”