Nutrition, health and wellbeing: the consumer perspective
By Sarah Thomas - 19 May 2015
Over the last 5 to 10 years there has been a growth in research and media attention in the areas of health, nutrition and well-being from the perspective of the consumer. Food and drink companies have reformulated products and developed new ones to satisfy consumers´ appetites to create a lifestyle that is founded on the pillars of health, wellness and convenience.
In addition, there is a smaller yet growing segment of the market that buys products to attain the purported benefits to either prevent or address a particular medical condition. However, not all consumers are believers; for the majority of consumers they prioritise taste, price and brand over the advertised health benefits. This is often attributed to a number of factors, such as a lack of understanding, negligible personal resonation between the benefits, e.g. a nutrition or health claim and the individual´s personal circumstances, or a lack of perceived compatibility between the functional ingredients and the claim and/or the base carrier product.
There are many tools available to investigate and address these issues – many of which we are actively involved in. By placing the consumer at the centre of product and packaging research and commercial services, it is possible to measure consumers´ expectations, emotions and perceptions of the packaging and product experience. This can be done using a multi-faceted approach in terms of data capture and analysis to measure consumers´ responses to product and packaging concepts and prototypes.
With regard to products, the appeal and acceptability of concepts prior to development can be evaluated, as can the liking and purchase intention of prototypes within context. In terms of packaging, the most important features can be determined, and consumers´ attitudes and emotions can be evaluated in response to the brand, functionality, design and labelling, including the understanding and believability of health claims. To supplement this product and packaging focus, complementary methods are used to understand and segment consumer lifestyles, food choices and motivations, particularly in relation to health related food and drink products.