Reports abound in the food sector highlighting what the industry is all about: convenience, health, nutrition, pleasure, technology or sustainability. We see many themes running throughout the industry and discussions about the same trends over the past decade. Health is a particularly common theme, to the point that it has become almost a necessity for many companies to launch new, healthier products. However, seeing that we have been talking about the same health trend for a decade now, we must ask ourselves, is the concept of health in mass-produced food almost exhausted?
At Lantern we believe it is, and that the time has come for a new narrative about health in the food industry, wellness. Wellness is a dynamic idea that encompasses many aspects of the consumer's life, whereas health is a static, binary concept: either you are healthy or you are not. The inventor of the concept "Wellness", Halbert Dunn, defines it as the "active process of being aware of and making choices that lead to optimal outcomes in different human dimensions: physical, mental and spiritual". Because it relates to so many aspects of life, wellness is a cross-cutting idea that can be extended to many different sectors, and we believe it will be one of the biggest trends in the industry in the coming years.
Wellness is already gaining consumer attention. According to market research conducted by Think with Google, consumers' interest in wellness is no longer seasonal. Now they show "always-on" behavior when it comes to wellness. In addition, the global pandemic may have contributed to accelerating this global trend, as people take a step back from their daily routines to ask themselves what they really want in their lives and what they need to do to improve them.
Wellness offers a clear opportunity for the food and beverage industry, as it allows brands to create a deeper connection with the consumer. By considering food and beverage through the lens of wellness, we can broaden the set of benefits associated with a product and take into account not only consumers' physical or nutritional needs, but also their need states, moods and aspirations. This deeper connection also allows brands to find new opportunities outside their current category; food and beverage companies can partner with related service companies and create a wellness ecosystem that allows them to connect with the consumer in a more meaningful way.
Take the cosmetics company Rituals, for example, which positions its products as not only high-quality and affordable, but also as mood-changing products through the use of unique fragrances, and which address consumers' needs for mood-enhancing products.
There are already some signs of this growing trend in today's market. Consumers are increasingly sensitive to the values displayed by the products and brands they buy; they want to make sure that what they buy is in tune with their own lifestyles and ideologies. As a result, some companies are beginning to state and display their values very clearly, in an attempt to connect with the consumer.
The wellness trend is especially clear in the growing nutraceuticals category, which offers products designed to provide psychological benefits, such as mood enhancement, through the use of supplements and adaptogens. For example, PepsiCo has launched the Driftwell drink, which contains supplements designed to help users sleep more easily. In addition, the growing size and strength of the CBD market is another clear indication that consumers are looking for products that help them improve their state of mind. A more innovative example of the mood-enhancing trend is brewing company Lagunitas with its Hi-Fi Hops line, which offers three different cannabis-infused beers with varying levels of CBD and THC.
The wellness bet is here to stay, and as consumers pay more attention to the values represented by the products they buy, and increasingly demand products that not only improve their health but also other aspects of life, we believe this trend will continue to grow. As a result, mood-enhancing and general wellness-related products will become much more prevalent in the near future. Is your company ready to meet this challenge? Let's face it together.