What have been some of the dominant nutrition and healthcare consumer behaviour trends over recent years?
“Consumers are becoming savvier, and they want transparency not only on the label, where clean label is key. Plant-based has become an imperative for many consumers, though there are regional differences. Consumers look for info on the web for scientific evidence or on social media. Sustainability is the second imperative. Online purchasing is now standard.”
“Consumers are also showing more interest across a wider range of nutritional segments. Gut health remains a growing segment. Next to that we see very high demand for beauty from within products. Over the last couple of months, we have seen the ‘nootropic’ segment rapidly developing in subcategories like e-sports, mood & health products and next-generation sleeping and relaxing aids.”
“Finally, the trend of consumers looking for new companies where they can be part of a movement keeps growing. Well organised start-ups with connections to science, like Ritual in the USA and Nutri&Co in France are very successful.”
And what impact has the pandemic had on consumer behaviour when it comes to healthcare spending and prioritisation?
“Although incomes have dropped in many households, healthcare spending has increased. More consumers are taking food supplements globally. According to some recent studies, COVID-19 counts for more than one third of healthcare spending.”
“Consumers have also become more aware of their mental and physical health. Complete lifestyles and family lives have changed resulting in different needs and priorities. This varies from increased purchases of immune support products to products around weight management (to tackle the so-called ‘Corona kilos’).”
Could you expand a little on how food supplement demand has correlated with certain stages of the pandemic?
“Consumer spending and behaviour in healthcare can be related to certain phases of the pandemic. We all saw stockpiling taking place during the first quarter of 2020. During the second and third quarter, consumers became more focused on building resilience, purchasing more multivitamins and immunity-related products. From the fourth quarter onwards, consumers have established healthcare routines to cope with stress and fatigue. Many have been looking for products to help them cope with anxiety and sleeplessness.”
What cross-border commonalities have you identified?
“COVID19 Is a pandemic, with some cultural differences. Demand for vitamins however has been global. Many consumers are looking at their health more holistically than before, and linking their lifestyle with food supplementation. Capsules are in strong demand as a safe and convenient dosage form.”
On the back of this market analysis and understanding, what advice would you give formulators keen to develop consumer-centric active nutrition solutions during this time?
“Demand for food supplements with a natural aspect, which support wellbeing, mood, sleep and exercise recovery are in high demand. Combining plant-based ingredients with sustainable dosage forms, like Lonza Capsugels vegetarian portfolio, can be a winner.”
What are some of the key lessons, pieces of knowledge you hope attendees take away from your presentation?
“Come with solutions that speak to the moment. Choosing plant-based capsules that allow an ingredient to perform is key. Consumers want products that work. To enable fast to market strategies, Lonza has developed a series of formulations that specifically address mood, sleep and exercise recovery, in consumer-appealing Licaps® liquid filled capsules and DUOCAP capsules.”