Barriers to Healthy Living: Sticking to Health Goals

21st February 2024


We often discuss strategies for making healthy products more appealing, including factors like taste, multifunctional benefits, and transparent claims. While this is important when targeting consumers looking to improve their health, it is also important to consider how the industry can support long-term adherence to health plans, especially considering that many people struggle with this. Additionally, it can be challenging to measure the efficacy of health products. Key themes highlight the need for new approaches to promoting long-term healthy living. This includes encouraging gradual improvements instead of radical changes. Another approach is toning down the health message to alleviate pressure and promote balanced approaches, by challenging perceptions of healthy living from both a category and behavioral perspective. 

Health Goals, Proactive Approach, Emotional Health, Health and Wellness, Consumer Insights, Market Research, FMCG.

Consumers will Prioritize their Emotional Health Alongside their Physical Wellbeing in 2024

Globally, consumers are taking a proactive approach to their well-being, with motivations shifting from a fear of illness to a desire to maintain overall wellness in modern-day life.

Over the next twelve months, people are focused on addressing various aspects of their well-being, with importance placed on both mental and physical health. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 62% of global consumers would like to improve their mental well-being over the next twelve months. There has been an increased emphasis on day-to-day health traits and emotional wellness, reflecting a shift from a long-term wellness focus and a greater awareness of the interconnected nature of energy levels, sleep quality, and mental well-being. This is because post-pandemic, consumers are facing concerns such as rising prices and global conflict. As a result, they are struggling to balance personal and professional responsibilities at the expense of rest and recuperation, impacting sleep health, mood, and energy levels. 

Health Goals, Proactive Approach, Emotional Health, Health and Wellness, Consumer Insights, Market Research, FMCG.

The Challenges and Barriers Consumers Face When Trying to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

Due to the numerous obstacles and challenges that consumers face in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, health problems persist despite their dedication to well-being. The prevalence of lifestyle-related health issues like obesity and diabetes continues to increase. This highlights that despite genuine intentions, consumers struggle to maintain long-term commitments to health plans. Furthermore, when they deviate from their health routines, they are more inclined to abandon their health goals altogether rather than attempt to revert to the original plan.

The most prominent challenge faced by consumers in pursuing a healthy lifestyle includes a significant increase in individuals citing financial issues as the primary barrier. Linked to this, is the rise in individuals dealing with everyday living costs. This has led to a surge in the number of consumers indicating that feelings of stress directly impact their eating habits. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights indicate that 69% of global consumers feel that healthy eating is expensive, followed by issues of stress and difficulty understanding nutritional labeling. Even before the current cost-of-living crisis, numerous individuals were facing financial difficulties, and soaring prices have intensified these concerns.

Moreover, the issue of escalating prices is not short-lived but rather one that will substantially impact consumption habits over the following decade. Regardless of industry efforts, the notion persists that healthy food is costly and lacks flavor. This is leading people to believe they must compromise between nutrition and affordability, often turning to less healthy options for moments of comfort in times of uncertainty. 

The Next Steps for Brands in the Health and Wellness Market

The industry should shift its focus from promoting radical transformation to emphasizing gradual improvement. The industry must acknowledge that many dietary plans are prone to failure, with the primary goal being to support consumers in returning to their health plans. One common reason for the failure of health goals is that consumers often place excessive pressure on themselves to make significant alterations to their diets and lifestyles, associating these changes with compromise and sacrifice. When they inevitably deviate from these health routines, often due to the desire for indulgence, they are more likely to abandon their health plans completely rather than return to them.

Although this pressure can be self-imposed, it is important for the industry not to be seen as endorsing unrealistic health goals or stereotyping what constitutes good health, particularly from an appearance standpoint. However, the industry can contribute to addressing this by promoting a more nuanced message and encouraging gradual changes that are more sustainable in the long run rather than focusing on vast transformations. 

This article is based on FMCG Gurus: Addressing Barriers to Healthy Living: How to Help Consumers Stick to their Health Goals – Global Report 2024. For more information, please click here.

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