Social Nature recently engaged our community of 600K+ natural shoppers in the USA and Canada on an important topic: “Which health & shopping trends are here to stay?”
Keep reading for the Top 7 takeaways, consumer insights & marketing tips on ways to connect and convert shoppers in this new and ever changing normal. Our webinar on the topic can be viewed here.
Increased desire for social connectedness and a more holistic approach to overall health
The pandemic has created a desire for greater social connection, with much of it happening online. 55% of consumers have been consciously connecting online and investing in new personal development and learning.
At the same time, more than ever, consumers are seeking ways to reduce stress (47%), restore emotional balance (31%), improve mental/cognitive performance (28%), eat healthier (53%) and increase exercise/fitness (48%). Health is defined in holistic terms.
>> Tip: Take a holistic approach to marketing, and consider investing in building online communities and emotional connections with consumers around behaviors they are already doing to support their quest for better health and wellness.
The chart below shows the Top 5 Permanent Lifestyle Changes people expect to make resulting from COVID.
For example, many leading brands are investing in partnerships with like minded health practitioners such as yoga and wellness centres to deliver online fitness programs to engage their communities. Another idea might be to incorporate more recipe content or host an online cooking show with a guest chef or nutritionist to support the trend of preparing more meals at home. For supplement companies, note that 44% are taking more preventative measures – an opportunity for proactive positioning of your products.
Much more proactive health strategies
83% of consumers are more proactive in their health management compared to the year before the pandemic, prioritizing eating healthier as the #1 health goal. Dietary Changes include:
- 49% reducing sugar
- 47% reducing processed foods
- 25% reducing sodium
- 22% plan to eat less meat
- 20% avoiding GMO products
>> Tip: ensure your product formulations align with these ingredient trends and callouts are resonating with your core audience.
Demand for transparency of business practices and focus on environmental sustainability
We’re in the midst of a serious shift in the marketplace where the culture and conversation around health, environmental, and human rights is happening. People want to know where their products come from and how they are being produced.
38% are paying more attention to food labels than a year ago; 55% want to know about ingredient sourcing with a preference towards domestic products, and many shoppers are supporting mission-driven companies – one of the top drivers of DTC repeat shopping habits.
With the increases in online delivery, consumers are also more sensitive to waste and environmental sustainability – when asked about how the future might look, this Social Nature member sums up the consumer sentiment well:
“Hopefully better focus on renewables and reusables, partnerships with enviro conscious programs, awareness and transparency of supply chain / human rights violations, ecological impacts of supply chain.”
>> Tip: if you’re a sustainable brand, ensure you are sharing your story with consumers and engaging them along your sustainability journey. If you are at the beginning of your journey, explore how sustainability can become embedded into your business & brand strategy and engage your employees to contribute to solutions across all functional areas of the business.
Plant-based substitutes for animal products on the rise for all consumers, regardless of dietary preferences
As consumers adopt more preventive health measures, eating healthy is a top priority – food is becoming the “new medicine” and plant-based foods are part of the solution! 72% of consumers are buying plant-based substitutes, regardless of dietary preference; an average of 41% of total meal volume is now plant-based.
>> Tip: To expand your market share, go after conventional shoppers looking to adopt more plant based foods in their diet, and share how your products can help them achieve their health goals.
44% of consumers said they will continue to adopt more preventative health measures and 36% will be focused on improving immunity
This is an opportunity for the supplement industry to be proactive in marketing to consumers around prevention. Other trends include increased interest in functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens across product categories.
“I think a lot of people will be more interested in using natural products, healthier foods, that support a healthy, well functioning immune system!”
Tip: Be proactive in marketing to consumers around preventative health measures, and explore integration of functional ingredients across product lines.
Increased shopping online & demand for personalization
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted e-commerce over the last year, maybe more than any other time in history. People are adjusting their buying habits and lockdowns have accelerated online purchases with 33% more consumers shopping for food grocery and health items through e-commerce channels. We are also seeing an opportunity for new direct-to-consumer models, and growth in emerging brands embracing these new best practices.
Stay tuned for our spotlight on top drivers of DTC sales in future posts!
>> Tip: Get digital ready with e-commerce & online reviews, and ensure you tag your products based on consumer’s top health goals and dietary preferences. At Social Nature, we invite each community member to tell us who they are and what they’re interested in with 50+ data points including their top health goals, product category interests, dietary preferences, top shopped retailers and more so we can provide them with personalized product discovery and shopping experiences (and help our customers hyper-target). What we’ve noticed is that people are willing to share when you offer something of value to them, a key success factor in consumer data collection.
Consumers will continue to support local businesses – 35% will be shopping more locally
With the growth of retail giants like Amazon and Walmart dominating market share, there has also been a counter culture growing of consumers seeking to support local businesses and local products.
>> Tip: especially for emerging brands, align with local retailers and join forces to penetrate your local markets, perhaps partnering on educational events and community building initiatives. Consumers more than ever before have an appetite for new products that support new health routines! 79% of consumers have bought a new product in the last month!
In sum, while the pandemic has led to many challenges within the natural food and health industry, it has also provided a unique opportunity for brands to develop disruptive ways of reaching consumers in 2021 and beyond as people are more health-forward than ever before. Stay tuned for more tips on Go-to-Market strategies in our future blog posts!
Top 7 tips & takeaways for Natural CPG Marketers
About the Author:
Jessica Malach – VP, Partnerships & Insights at Social Nature
Jessica began her career in the natural health industry in 2004, where she’s worked with 100’s of brands on successful product launches, integrated marketing programs, and ways to leverage data to boost sales and brand engagement. Her pioneering consumer insights work has been featured in Natural Foods Merchandiser, Nosh, Health & Wellness Retailer, and at key industry conferences. Jessica is passionate about partnering with the natural product industry to support greater consumer education, awareness & access to healthier options.