Long-Term Implications of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a major impact on consumer lifestyles and habits accelerating the way that they addressed their health and wellbeing. Although concern towards the virus has significantly reduced over the last year, there is a lasting impact that can be still seen in consumer behavior across the globe. So, what does this mean for brands and manufacturers going forward within the food and beverage industry and how can they target the evolving consumer?
Concern Towards COVID-19
FMCG Gurus consumer insights highlight that consumer concern towards the virus has significantly reduced over the last couple of years. In April 2022, 76% of global consumers stated they were concerned about the virus, however, in April 2022, this has now declined to 44%. This is due to consumers learning to live with the virus, whilst also feeling more confident due to the vaccines provided.
Although concern has reduced, the proportion of consumers looking to lead a healthier lifestyle remains relatively high, with 66% of global consumers stating this. This shows that despite a reducing concern towards the virus itself, many consumers are still taking a proactive approach to their health adopting a long-term strategy when addressing their health and wellbeing.
Consumer Health Goals
As consumers look to continue to address their health and wellbeing, they would like to target a number of different health issues. Firstly, consumer health goals remain focused on disease management with 59% of global consumers becoming more concerned about their immune health. Not only are consumers concerned about protecting themselves from future waves but recognize that immune health has a direct impact on all areas of health.
Another aspect consumers are looking to address is their mental well-being. Prior to the pandemic, many consumers suffered from the inability to relax and unwind. This is something that the pandemic has accelerated as consumers are now more concerned about the health and wellbeing of loved ones, the economy, and the uncertainty of what the future holds.
Evolving Dietary Habits
One of the main ways in which consumers will look to address their health is by adopting a back-to-basics approach to nutrition. FMCG Gurus insights show that 73% of global consumers say that they are attempting to eat and drink more healthily as a result of COVID-19. Of these consumers, 69% state they will increase their intake of fruit, and 54% will do the same for vegetables. This highlights that consumers are turning to everyday food and drink that they know and trust in order to be healthier.
Consumers are also adopting a positive nutrition approach to their diets. This is due to consumers seeking out functional ingredients which offer a benefit beyond basic nutrition, such as protein. FMCG Gurus research highlights this as 42% say that they are seeking out functional/fortified products more frequently. These products offer a convenient health boost that can be incorporated easily into diets. However, brands should provide evidence-led claims on packaging to reassure skeptical consumers that any health claims made are accurate.
Cost of Living
The cost of living is rising for many consumers across the globe leading them to feel concerned about the state of the economy. FMCG Gurus research shows that under half of the global consumers are confident about the state of the global economy. These concerns about rising living costs will have a direct impact on shopping habits. This will have an impact on brand and retailer loyalty as consumers will become more value-orientated and resourceful to find the best deals.
With reduced financial confidence, consumers are looking to spend less money on food and drink. In April 2020, 45% of global consumers stated that they are looking to reduce spending on food and drink. This has significantly increased to 63% in April 2022. This shows the long-ranging implications of COVID-19. One way that consumers will look to reduce spending is by seeking out more private label products as these are associated with lower costs.
It is crucial for brands to be responsive to dwindling consumer confidence over finances and provide affordable and accessible products, that can be incorporated into consumer diets and lifestyles.