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New Acosta Report Explores Recent Health and Wellness Trends Elevated by COVID-19

Research finds 33% of shoppers cite cost as the biggest barrier to healthy eating

Acosta, a global integrated sales and marketing services provider in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, released its latest research report, COVID-19 Has Elevated the Health & Wellness Trends of Recent Yearshighlighting category trends, shopper behaviors and implications for retailers. The report, which found 33% of today’s shoppers identify cost as the biggest barrier to healthy eating, details the pandemic’s significant impact on shopper priorities and describes how the industry can best meet consumer demands in this ever-changing landscape.

“COVID-19 has sharpened the focus on recent health and wellness trends, with nearly two-thirds of consumers taking a proactive approach to healthy living,” said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “However, while most of today’s shoppers are motivated to live a healthy lifestyle, many report the cost of eating a nutritious diet prevents them from doing so. This challenge opens a door for retailers to become trusted resources among health-focused consumers, many of whom are beginning to look beyond medical professionals for guidance on affordable purchase recommendations and product information. Now more than ever, retailers would be wise to offer health and wellness solutions tailored to fit current consumer needs — whether this means providing discounts on featured items, creating incentive programs or optimizing product labeling. COVID-19’s acceleration of the self-care trend has created an opportunity for retailers to significantly expand sales and drive shopper loyalty.”

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Acosta’s research provides insight into shoppers’ growing focus on healthy living and the role retailers play in meeting associated demand. The report findings address key topics and include:

Consumer Priorities

Almost two-thirds of shoppers take a proactive approach to living a healthy lifestyle, but four distinct shopper segments identified in the report manage their health differently.

The “Active” segment, comprising 24% of consumers surveyed, does everything they can to live the healthiest life possible, including eating right and exercising regularly.

The “Balanced” segment, comprising 40% of consumers surveyed, takes a balanced approach to their health through diet and exercise, but does not obsess over it.

The “Want To, But…” segment, comprising 30% of consumers surveyed, wants to maintain their health but has difficulty staying motivated. They prefer to manage their health via rest and relaxation, checkups and over-the-counter or prescription medications.

The “Carefree” segment, comprising six percent of consumers surveyed, does not typically worry about their health and only acts when a problem arises.

Barriers to Health and Wellness

While most shoppers are motivated to stay healthy, costs and chronic conditions create barriers.

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers say the cost of health insurance is the biggest barrier.

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers say the cost of health services is the biggest barrier.

Thirty-three percent of shoppers say the cost of eating a healthy diet is the biggest barrier.

Thirty-three percent of shoppers say chronic conditions make it difficult to maintain their health.

Self-Care

When asked what self-care means to them, answers from consumers varied, with a focus on healthy eating and nutrition ranking as the top answer (49%).

Forty-two percent of consumers said self-care means medical checkups.

Forty percent of consumers said self-care means having a regular exercise routine.

Thirty-six percent of consumers said self-care means making time for relaxation.

Thirty-five percent of consumers said self-care means taking vitamins and supplements.

Retailers as Health Resources

Consumers reported that fresh food and healthy food offerings are the most important components for a retailer to be a trusted health resource.

Forty-five percent of consumers believe selling a wide variety of fresh foods is most important.

Forty-two percent of consumers believe selling a wide variety of healthy foods is most important.

Thirty-eight percent of consumers believe offering a wide variety of over-the-counter health care products is most important.

Thirty-four percent of consumers believe offering educational health and wellness resources is most important.

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Growing Demand for Retailer Health Services

Shoppers are increasingly interested in leveraging additional health services in-store.

Eighty-three percent of shoppers have tried or are interested in routine eye exams in-store.

Seventy-four percent of shoppers have tried or are interested in learning how to cook healthy meals in-store.

Seventy-two percent of shoppers have tried or would like to visit a clinic for routine care in-store.

Sixty-two percent of shoppers have tried or would like to visit a clinic for minor medical issues in-store.

Fifty-nine percent of shoppers have tried or would like to visit a clinic to address a chronic health condition in-store.

Acosta’s COVID-19 Has Elevated the Health & Wellness Trends of Recent Years report was gathered via online surveys using the company’s proprietary shopper community, conducted between May 7, 2021 and May 18, 2021.

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