Realizing that COVID-19 will be part of our daily lives for a long time hasn’t made consumers any more complacent about their health. Rather, in 2022, shoppers will continue to turn to good nutritional and dietary supplements to help them stay healthy in 2022, say two new consumer trend reports.
ADM (Chicago) released its report, “The Dietary Supplement Consumer of Tomorrow,” and FrieslandCampina Ingredients (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) released its report, “Nutritional Food: Shaping the Future of Nutrition 2022.” According to the companies, nutrition and health product marketers need to understand what’s changed—and what hasn’t—in terms of consumer behaviors in 2022.
Not that drawing a bead on changing consumer preferences is always easy. “We are in the midst of an unprecedented shift in consumer trends,” said Vicky Davies, global marketing director of performance, active, and medical nutrition, in FrieslandCampina’s report. “It’s been an extraordinary couple of years, and brands would be forgiven for feeling like the goalposts are continually moving.”
Consumers aren’t likely to abandon the healthy behaviors they adopted during the pandemic. Instead, goals like healthy aging and taking care of themselves by maintaining fitness, sleep health, mental health, and digestive health will be ongoing goals, says FrieslandCampina.
The pandemic led more consumers to prioritize physical fitness, with the report, which includes data from market researchers FMCG Gurus and Innova Market Insights, noting that 60% of consumers say they now exercise at least three times per week. More consumers are also minding their mental health, with 46% of 26- to -35-year-olds and 42% of 36- to 45-year-olds “actively” trying to improve their mental health. This trend is global, with the report stating, “It is incredibly rare for so many people across nationalities, ages, and genders to be united by one shared experience. While everyone’s pandemic experiences are different, the feeling of tension and stress has been almost ubiquitous.”
Older consumers also continue to pay more attention to healthy aging, and this can be seen in countries like Asia where functional foods for healthy aging are an upward trend and where, in 2020, 47% of such food and drink products included a senior-related mention, the FrieslandCampina report notes.
Consumers are even getting savvier about digestive health, realizing the link between gut and microbiome health and holistic health. The FrieslandCampina report notes that two out of three people “already recognize that gut health is key to achieving overall well-being.”
The good news for dietary supplement companies is that consumers very much still view supplements as a key tool in their health plans. Fully 60% of global consumers say they are planning to improve their health and wellness over the next year. This bodys well for supplements. The ADM report notes that 79% of US consumers say that taking supplements is important to their overall health, 67% of global nutritional supplement users plan to continue using supplements over the next year, and 49% of all supplement users say they’d be willing to spend more on supplements.
They are also taking the quality and efficacy of those supplements more seriously. Says the ADM report, “When considering nutritional supplements, 59% of global consumers want to see scientific evidence supporting supplement efficacy.”
Consumers are also more sophisticated in their approach to supplements, no longer just seeking general, random products but rather aiming for personalized nutrition solutions. ADM’s report notes that 55% of global consumers are seeking out product health claims that suit their individual needs, and up to 75% of US dietary supplement users are looking for personalized products directly suited to their needs.
This includes supplements in the form most convenient for them to take, whether it is because they have difficult swallowing traditional tablets and capsules—or because they are simply looking for a delivery form that’s fun for them to take. ADM’s report notes that one in four global supplement users “would like to see supplements in different forms.” Functional food and drinks are definitely appealing. Consumers are also pickier, with 58% of global consumers stating that it’s important that their supplements taste good, the report notes. Convenience is also paramount, with the report stating that 54% of global nutritional supplement users prefer multifunctional supplements that offer more than one health benefit.