Health and wellness trending 2017 promises a robust year. Strong recovery of the global health and wellness market is on the way, with sales recording 6.5% value growth (fixed exchange rates) in 2011. Products offering specific health benefits, such as fortified/functional, or those renowned for their natural health properties drove value sales, with rates above 7%. Growth was further fuelled by the developments in the emerging markets as China and Brazil alone contributed US$15 billion in new sales that year. Steady real term growth of 7.2% (current prices) is expected to continue to 2017, with global health and wellness sales on the way to hit a record high of US$1 trillion by 2017.
Innovation and product reformulation are, in fact, the heart of health and wellness, with the challenge being to deliver healthier, and ideally naturally sourced, food and drink formats tasting just like the beloved fully sugarised and full fat non health and wellness “parents”. Coca-Cola Zero (Coca-Cola, The) is a good example of how to do it successfully. Following the original Coca-Cola recipe (unlike Diet Coke), the brand managed to overtake the growth of the flagship Diet Coke increasing its sales by US$565 million in 2011, that is US$160 million more than Diet Coke. Are stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola variants on the horizon or will the focus remain on Sprite?
Science continues, however, to outpace the regulators and legislative constraints prove hard for the health and wellness players. Restrictions continue to close down across the world and Europe has become one of the toughest regulatory environments. The new laws, especially the list of generic health claims legalised in May 2012, offer opportunities industry wide but have also finally
closed the door on many long-used health claims.
Probiotics, without a single approved health claim in the EU, are amongst the most adversely affected, and Western Europe is expected to witness the second consecutive year
of sales decline in 2012 for pro/pre biotic yoghurt after years of spectacular growth prior to 2008. Whilst this negative performance pulls the global performance of pro/pre biotic yoghurt down to 9%, other regions show no signs of weakness with double-digit growth rates in both 2011 and 2012. Even the recession-stricken US saw pro/prebiotic yoghurt sales up by 26% in 2011 and a
further advance of 13% is expected in 2012.
Finally, the pinnacle of health and wellness – ‘nutrigenomics’ or personalised nutrition, in which food scientists seek to treat chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease with a diet – is a step closer, with the leaders including Nestlé, PepsiCo and Danone heavily investing in institutes of nutrition, research and development.
Whilst the movement towards prevention grows, convergence of nutrition and ‘pharma’ is starting to attract attention of the big pharmaceutical players with substantial investments likely to follow.