Turn on the TV, flip open a magazine or log on to the Internet and chances are you’ll see a headline about how to quickly drop unwanted weight using the latest exercise fad or diet craze. The obesity crisis and consumer desire to become healthier could be a growth driver for manufacturers who better align their offerings to consumer needs and desires for healthier food. Roughly 78% of Hong Kong respondents believe they “are what they eat” and nearly 76% are actively using foods to forestall health issues and medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for food manufacturers and retailers to lead a healthy movement by providing the products and services that consumers want and need,” said Eva Leung, Managing Director, Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau. “While diet fads come and go overtime, innovative, back-to-basics foods that taste good, are easy to prepare and provide healthful benefits will have staying power. The first step is knowing where to put your product development efforts.”
ARE CONSUMERS WILLING TO PAY MORE FOR FOODS WITH HEALTHY ATTRIBUTES?
The good news is that Hong Kong consumers are attempting to take charge of their health. Half (50%) of Hong Kong respondents in Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight, and a similar percentage (56%) is actively trying to lose weight. And they’re doing so by cutting down on fats (67%) and chocolates, sugars, etc (56%). Manufacturers are reformulating products to eliminate or reduce the sugar, cholesterol, trans and saturated fat and sodium content of food. They’re moving away from artificial ingredients and introducing products high in desirable attributes like fiber and protein. But there’s room for continued action.
Consumers believe health attributes in the foods they eat are important, but the real question is: are they willing to pay more for the benefits they provide? The answer is yes—to a degree. Dividing our respondents into four buckets of spending intent, the highest percentages are slightly willing to pay a premium for health claims—an average of 38% across 27 attributes included in the study. Only about one-out-of-ten of Hong Kong respondents are very willing to pay a premium (13%), while 36% of them are moderately willing and 13% who are not willing. While there was not one health attribute that swayed dramatically from these spending intention buckets globally, a few regional differences prevail.
The Nielsen Global Health & Wellness Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to identify how consumers feel about their body image and the steps they’re taking to get healthier.