23rd September 2022
The Evolution of Active Nutrition in Europe
Introduction to Active Nutrition
In light of the pandemic, there has been a gradual increase in ‘active nutrition’ consumers. Active consumers are not defined by body shape and may even consider themselves to be unhealthy but are actively looking to address this.
These types of consumers are defined by taking a proactive approach to health, exercising three-to-six times a week casually (so not engaging in strenuous activities such as running marathons or partaking in sports professionally; i.e., extreme sports events), and engaging in healthy behaviors with the intention to improve health levels above all else.
This approach to health will significantly influence the products consumers purchase with their health at the forefront of their minds. They will look to increase their nutrient intake and will seek out multifunctional claims in the food, drink, and supplements in order to boost their health.
Evolving Behaviors in Europe
FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that there has been an increase in health consciousness amongst consumers over the last 2 years, with 42% reporting COVID-19 as the determining factor surrounding their growing concerns. Attitudes and behaviors towards health have evolved and with this, there is a higher concentration of consumers taking matters into their own hands to improve their health.
Consumers are taking a holistic approach to health, taking each region of health more seriously in hopes to optimize their overall wellbeing. Consumers are prioritizing their immune health above all with the aim to minimize the risk of disease and illness. More than half of consumers across Europe stated the reason they are addressing health issues even before they suffer from signs of symptoms is to stay active until as late in life as possible.
Even as the pandemic begins to fade into the background for many, consumers are still taking a proactive approach to their health which reinforces the idea that consumers are addressing their long-term health goals and attitudes have been permanently influenced by the effects of the virus.
Consumer Diets and Lifestyles
It is important for brands to continue to provide products that are based around promoting healthier lifestyles and diets.
One of the ways consumers aim to lead more active lifestyles is to optimize their health through exercise, with 61% of consumers across Europe reporting they have made this change in the last 2 years. There is an increase in consumers incorporating casual exercise into their daily routines. This explains the rise in active nutrition as more consumers look to boost their energy and health levels to maximize the benefits of exercising. This is important for the sports nutrition market to acknowledge in order to appeal to the everyday consumers who expand beyond competing and professional level sports which the market previously focused on appealing to.
Consumers also acknowledged they were not entirely satisfied with their diets. Especially as the pandemic led many to indulge in bad dietary traits such as overeating and frequent snacking. With that being said, 71% of consumers looked to change what they snack on and 55% admitted they are trying to cut down on unhealthy snacks. This is because many consumers are under the impression that unhealthy foods are easier to access, as they’re more time convenient and affordable, as they believe healthy eating is expensive and time-consuming.
FMCG Gurus insights also show that 27% of consumers believe healthier snacks are less tasty. Brands should look to produce better-for-you alternatives whilst adopting a back-to-basics approach, as consumers are interested in fresh and authentic ingredients they equate to naturalness when striving to be healthier. Fortified products are also a great way to maximize nutrient intake in a convenient and consumer-friendly way that aligns with their outlook and health values.
Conclusion: Actions and Recommendations
The pandemic greatly impacted how consumers view their health and wellbeing as people are prompted to take a more proactive approach towards their health. Even as concerns surrounding the pandemic are reduced people are still committed to making active changes to achieve preventative measures and minimize the chances of falling sick.
This suggests consumer concern for their health and wellbeing goes beyond COVID-19 and an evolving holistic approach aims to address multiple regions of health. This includes diet and exercise, as well as factors such as mental wellbeing, sleep management, and immune health.
Immunity is the leading concern for consumers who are looking to address aspects of their diet and lifestyle. With this being said, it can be assumed that the increase in active nutrition consumers will continue to rise as more people become interested in taking a proactive approach to health.