Skip to content

Which aspects of health and wellbeing to pursue in food production?

Which aspects of health and wellbeing to pursue in food production?
Kevin Deegan
Dr. Kevin Deegan
Head of Consumer Insight, PhD

Kevin is interested in the application and utilisation of insights throughout the product development chain through to strategic marketing and communications.

The terms ‘health’ and ‘wellness’ can hold different meanings in people’s lives. In this blog, I break down what they mean on a practical level, helping to explain their relevance to your consumers, and ultimately how to leverage these issues for success in your food production business.

When talking about health and wellbeing, we can generally split them up into two different yet overlapping themes;

  • generic health = generally, being free from physical symptoms
  • holistic wellbeing = the general feel-good effects of ethical and emotional wellbeing

Prevention of illnesses with food is an active choice

From a food choice point-of-view, generic health is either preventative or reactive. Preventative by choosing or avoiding certain foods and nutrients to either ward off or reduce the risk of developing certain unwanted health conditions. Reactive drivers on general health usually arise either from a specific diagnosis or on a perceived self-diagnosis, which can just be as just convincing.

This creates a vastly different consumer mindset when it comes to choosing what foods to consume: the active optimism of prevention vs. being forced to use diet or food as a medicine.

A prime example is the issue of lactose intolerance, where being forced to avoid dairy due to an intolerance to lactose could create the perception of sacrifice among some. However, with modern lactose free technologies as pioneered by Valio, lactose free no longer means a reduction in quality and definitely doesn’t mean a sacrifice.

People with gut problems look for individual solutions for individual symptoms

A rising sub-theme in generic health is that of gut health. The gut and symptoms of gut illnesses are still quite a grey area in medicine. When consumers cannot get answers or solutions to illnesses and symptoms of the gut, they search for information from non-traditional or non-medical sources.

This has in part led to the growth of certain avoidance diets, for example avoiding gluten or avoiding lactose or dairy. The link between the food and the symptom is not always clear, but often some general feeling of relief can be found by pursuing a certain avoidance diet.

Gut health and avoidance diets are a clear opportunity for the food industry to play an active role in providing solutions to help with both specific and nonspecific symptoms, which are naturally very uncomfortable and emotional for people.

Watch the webinar! Dr. Kevin Deegan reveals what nutritional goodies and baddies are top-of-mind for many consumers.

Food Solutions Trend Webinar 2019

Health and wellbeing are currently two of the biggest trends in food, but what do they mean on a practical level in people’s lives?

“The perceived naturalness of a product is not just determined by the list of ingredients. It is more and more defined by the complete production cycle, packaging and the complete consumer experience.”

“The more effort you put into getting to know your consumers, the easier it is to connect with them and to offer them what they’re looking for.”