TrendBite: Healthy indulgence

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Can you indulge in a healthy way?

Yes, according to one of the top beverage macro trends for the year. Healthy indulgence is all about indulging with a tasty treat, without the perceived guilt of consuming something which is ‘bad’ for you.

What’s driving healthy indulgence?

Finding the right balance of ‘positive nutrition’ – between healthy eating and satisfying our cravings or desire for a treat, is now a regular part of our lives as consumers. And it’s an area brands are leaning in to, with messaging switching to what we should do, rather than what we shouldn’t.

Nostalgia and familiar tastes also play a role in healthy indulgence – particularly at times of uncertainty when we are looking to familiar flavours we know for comfort and reassurance.

  • The global organic food and beverages market is forecast to register substantial growth to 2028.
  • APAC is set to see the strongest growth to 2025, and for 88% of US shoppers clear nutritional information is very important.
  • 34% of consumers state that how a product/service impacts their health and wellbeing “always influences product choice” (Global Data’s Global Consumer Survey, June 2022).

Which consumer groups are interested in healthy indulgence?

Who is drinking their way to better health?

  • Over half 18-35 year olds globally are likely to choose a premium soft drink and much of this premiumisation is being fuelled by a digitally savvy consumer base in growth markets like China and India.
  • Millennials and Gen Z are key target consumers, favouring authentic, premium products.

But brands should ignore the older baby boomers at their peril - consumer surveys show ‘boomers’ are as keen as the younger generations to buy products that complement their health and wellbeing.

A Global Data survey from the start of the year shows 60% of consumers (from Gen Z to Boomers) state that how a product impacts their health and wellbeing always or often influences their purchase decision.

Implications for the beverage industry

Like many beverage macro trends, healthy indulgence crosses over with other health and wellness beverage trends such as functional, natural energy and gut health. All of these things impact beverage innovation and new product development (NPD) because beverages are a key component of overall health management.

Where vitamins and supplements were once the go-to for consumers, many are now turning to food and beverage to provide a much needed health boost.

Beverages that amplify the flavours, colours, textures, aromas of a product will justify the premium price point across categories. This is particularly pertinent right now because we are living in a time of hyperinflation – premium beverages are viewed as an affordable luxury by consumers who are not so inclined to spend on big ticket items.

Globally, it is APAC which will see the strongest value growth in the next few years, driven largely by product innovation and the explosion in ecommerce.

What’s next?

Just as we are all becoming more aware of ‘greenwashing’, the need for transparency and the correlation between the claim and the actual health benefits stacking up under scrutiny will also play out in beverages, known as ‘health washing’.

Advances in technology being used to enable and educate consumers will continue. QR codes are already being used on pack by many brands to verify health claims and nutritional information.

In future, we’re likely to see more metaverse activity for beverages – launching virtually before physically and sensory indulgence will play a big role in future innovation.

Global Data