Gillian Waddell discusses trends in the food industry with Fuel’s in-house nutritionist Shona Wilkinson
Thinking about bringing out a health-related product? Here is what you need to know.
- Ethics, Ethics, Ethics!
It’s not enough to just have a good product nowadays as our consumers are demanding so much more and have huge environmental expectations. They are also willing to pay more for products which show environmental responsibility. Products will be examined, and questions asked about the ethics around the ingredients, the packaging, and even your company! This may mean questions about whether the product comes in any form of plastic, whether it is recyclable or of recycled material (e.g. sourced from recovered plastics from the ocean), are the ingredients ethically sourced, are they sustainable, etc.
Transparency and traceability will be incredibly important. As far as your company is concerned, it is not even enough to just say that you contribute to a charity. Consumers want a purpose-driven brand, almost that you exist to help others. For example, the ingredients are sourced from Mozambique farms where 90% of profits are returned. Be prepared for probably more questions about the ethics than the actual effectiveness of the ingredients in a product! This is great for people who are already running a company in this way but also a huge opportunity for other companies to become more responsible and aware of the impact on the environment that they and their products are having and to address any issues.
- Alternative Delivery Formats
Millennials are driving the growth in non-pill supplement forms as well as new delivery systems. More and more people are seeking out new supplement delivery formats which may be popular but probably not quite as therapeutic as the conventional tablets or capsules. Mintel reports that gummies and other supplement applications are in high demand and the pressure to come up with other options is real! Convenience is the king and coming up with a product that is not only effective, but convenient will pay off.
- Personalised and Customised Nutrition
You may have seen the rise in customer health questionnaires on supplement websites. They may be short and certainly not as detailed as the questions you would be asked at a nutritional consultation for example, but they provide a service of sorts and are extremely popular. How “personalised” the supplement suggestions are, of course, has a financial aspect to it!
- Brain Health
Research shows that consumers want supplements to help with their cognitive health. 56% of UK consumers aged 55+ are concerned about their brain health. However, it is not just the older generation looking for brain function options. Students are hungry for options to improve their current mental health and give them a competitive edge as well as prevent future decline. Research shows that the order of concern and supplement requirement is – improve memory, maintain brain function, prevent memory loss, help with concentration and improve focus.
- Clean Ingredients and Manufacture
Consumers are reading labels! You are far more likely to see consumers pouring over a label nowadays and checking ingredient lists in their quest for cleaner products. Consumers expect full transparency (quite rightly). There is also the ability for consumers to search on the internet and discover information on each individual ingredient. They want to avoid non-nutritive ingredients (excipients such as fillers and binders) and want the perfect clean and “natural” product. What does “clean’ and “natural” mean in a word where supplements are manufactured? Food supplements must go through a certain amount of manufacturing processes, and it may be a matter of clever wording to reassure the consumer.
- Formulation and Innovation
In a world where the look and feel of a product are important. It is often tempting to cut costs on the ingredients and formulation – don’t! Every new food supplement that comes to market is usually more forward-thinking than the last. Consumers are taking their health seriously and their understanding of supplements and ingredients is growing. Is it enough to simply “white label” your new product – probably not? Is it worth getting an expert with nutritional, supplement and retail experience to formulate your products – definitely!
Interested in knowing more or getting further advice? Please contact Gillian Waddell, MD of Fuel PR on Gillian@fuelrefuel.com or call +44(0)20 7498 8211
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