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The pursuit of healthiness



The pursuit of healthiness

It’s no surprise that health remains top of mind for consumers when it comes to food and drink, with 29% of total food and drink servings being for health related reasons – and growing. The number of times we made food and drink choices for health reasons grew 4% this year, and compared to 2015, health as a consumption driver has shot up by 8%; making it the fastest growing reason behind our food and drink choices. This is having widespread implications on consumer behaviour:

The pursuit of healthy lunchtime meals
While consumers often seek practical options for lunches, the need for health at lunch time has grown by 5% year on year; the strongest growth of all meal times.  Sandwiches and salads are among the dishes being chosen for health reasons at lunchtime.

Ending the day on a healthy note
The evening meal has the highest proportion of servings chosen for health of all occasions - 31% of all servings are chosen for a health-related reason, and this increased 5% year on year. The rise in scratch cooking and a greater use of fresh ingredients have both contributed to the increasing importance of health at the evening meal.

The more needs the better
People are looking for more than just one type of ‘health’ these days, with consumers  citing 1.7 health reasons on average when they eat or drink. Consumers are moving away from restrictive forms of healthy eating such as calorie counting or portion control, and opting for more natural and less processed products that provide health benefits (such as fibre/vitamins), while trying to eat a varied diet.

(Healthy) convenience is king
Health is seeing the strongest growth in convenience meals (compared to cooking from scratch, assisted cooking, assembled meals, and takeaways). The number of products in this category - which includes ready meals and pizzas - consumed for health-related reasons has grown from 9% to 12% in two years. Whilst enjoyment and practicality remain the primary reasons for consumers choosing these products, it’s clear that we want more nutritional benefit from these foods than ever before.

As consumers’ need for health continues to grow, it is important for manufacturers to consider where their current and future propositions fit into the health spectrum. In particular, health at the lunch and/or evening meal, or products in the convenience category, are in strong growth and offer a potential focus area for some manufacturers. Furthermore, consumers are seeking even more benefits from the products they use, therefore products fulfilling multiple needs to consumers will be best placed to retain their relevance. 

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Giles Quick

Director, Usage


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