Over the last 25 years as a natural health products distributor, we’ve not only witnessed the industry evolve, we’re proud of the role we’ve played in that evolution. Natural health products have merged into the mainstream as more and more consumers embrace their benefits.
One thing we recognise as a business is that it’s when we come together to share, connect and learn that we see the biggest shifts. Naturally Good is one such place to do that and we were thrilled to be back at Naturally Good 2021, flying the Unique flag alongside our suppliers, retailers and industry peers.
If you weren’t able to make it to Naturally Good 2021, we wanted to share some of the learnings and insights we took away from the event so you can ride the wave of the coming industry trends.
Naturally Good 2021 insights
Something we’ve been talking about for awhile at Unique Health Products is the more holistic nature of the modern health consumer. Today’s definition of health includes both physical and emotional aspects.
This trend towards total mind and body wellness was echoed by the IRI Analysis, 2021, which lists physical activity, diet and nutrition alongside other holistic health priorities such as sleep, rest, financial wellbeing, ethics and sustainability.
At the same time, the health foods market is growing. According to the IRI MarketEdge Grocery Scan, MAT to 03/01/21, health foods in grocery saw dollar growth of 10.7% from 2019 to 2020 to AUD$662 million. Vitamins and minerals in grocery saw 13.1% dollar growth in the same period to AUD$47.4 billion incremental dollars.
Plant-based eating is on the rise with 65% of global consumers eating more plant-based food and beverages1. But it’s not just vegans who are driving the plant-based trend. There are new markets of consumers turning to plants for a variety of reasons.
In Australia, 1-3% of people identify as vegan, 4-12% as vegetarian, 7-20% as flexitarian and 20-25% as meat reducers2.
Interestingly, the uptake of plant-based meat alternatives is mostly driven by curiosity. While 17% of people buy plant-based meat alternatives because they are vegan or vegetarian, 19% of people do so for environmental reasons, 28% due to animal welfare concerns and 58% out of curiosity about the taste3.
But this isn’t the end of the plant-based growth phenomenon. Expect to see more in the way of adaptogenic plants, such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, maca, holy basil and eleuthero root, that can help people to cope with stress.
Protein has been shining in the spotlight for some time… but what next?
What is apparent from in-store promotion is that consumers see protein as permission to indulge. However, given the saturation of protein-centric SKUs in the market, the key when it comes to protein is differentiation.
That differentiation comes in a variety of different ways. The first is products that crank up the protein, such as CLIF Builders Bars. The second is in personalisation to target specific market segments4. It’s important to focus on the importance of protein quality with a number of plant-based protein sources, such as protein-rich pulses and carbon transformation playing a bigger role in the industry.
GUT HEALTH AND IMMUNITY
With increasing awareness and interest in products that support immunity, digestion and gut health, there also comes an opportunity for in-store education and promotion.
75% of consumers admit to learning about new products by discovering them in store5. It’s important to maximise shelf-ready packaging to ensure the brand and key selling points are clear to not only increase customer awareness of the product but also the ingredients used. Better-for-you bagged snacks are also playing a leading role in the future of shelf real estate.10
In this same trend, it’s worth noting that probiotic and prebiotic grocery SKUs are growing by more than 50% year on year6. The opportunity here is to highlight probiotic quality and strain efficacy and look for probiotics entering new categories.
Further, by integrating health products alongside non-health products on shelves you can reach new customers and demonstrate your awareness of and responsiveness to trends that are important to consumers.
AUSTRALIAN DIET TRENDS
While Australians generally have a poor diet (i.e. not enough of the recommended five food groups, with too much of the discretionary category) there is some awareness of this. 44% of consumers agree that they “follow a balanced, healthy diet” while only 12% strongly agree with this statement.7
At the same time, 44% of Australians are concerned about how much sugar they are consuming.8 Related to this, SKUs that target the no/less sugar market are seeing 17% dollar growth and 13% unit growth, both higher than the industry growth rates.9
The opportunity in this trend is the reinvention of low sugar indulgence with a move to clean and simple ingredients.
STAY AHEAD OF THE TRENDS
At Unique Health Products, we have our finger on the pulse to help you stay ahead of the trends. We distribute hundreds of brands that are leading the charge in natural health. You can shop online with us 24/7 here, or call our friendly sales team on 1800 787 904. If you don’t have a wholesale account with us yet, you can register for one here.
Sources: 1DuPont Nutrition & Health, 2021., 2IRI Shopper Panel Survey; Essential Vision; Roy Morgan; Sydney Morning Herald., 3IRI Shopper Panel Survey, 2020; n = 1,874., 4IRI MarketEdge Grocery Scan, MAT to 03/01/21., 5IRI Shopper Panel Survey, January/February 2021 (n = 5,044); IRI Store Visits., 6IRI MarketEdge Grocery Scan, MAT to 03/01/21., 7IRI Nutrilink Shopper Panel Survey, 2020; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare., 8Roy Morgan, July 2020., 9IRI MarketEdge Grocery Scan, MAT to 03/01/21.,10IRI MarketEdge Grocery Scan, MAT To 03/01/21.