Consumers are more concerned about memory loss and the degeneration of their sight than they are about diabetes or cholesterol, new data shows.
A new report from Canadean shows that internationally, almost a third of consumers (32%) are concerned about experiencing memory loss in the future, and 27% are concerned about sight degeneration.
High cholesterol, diabetes and arthritis each came in at equal third, at 25%.
The data highlights an opportunity for manufacturers to respond by incorporating cognitive and eye health benefits into food, drinks and supplements, Canadean says – an approach consumers prefer to pills.
“As well as addressing current health needs, consumers are increasingly looking to the future, proactively seeking products that will reduce their risk of potential health problems,” says Melanie Felgate, Senior Consumer Insight Analyst at Canadean.
“With memory loss and eye health the top concerns, manufacturers in the functional nutrition and healthcare spaces should focus on these key areas of innovation,” she says.
“For example, cholesterol-lowering spreads are commonplace, but what about everyday products which improve cognitive function? Coffee Blenders Think Cup in the US is an example of a brand already doing this, producing coffee pods with ginseng which, the brand claims, is clinically proven to improve memory.”
In terms of the administration of health-enhancing ingredients, consumers prefer food and drink over pills, Canadean says.
Only 14% of consumers globally consider traditional pills and tablets to be the preferable consumption format, with the majority opting for food and drink formats. Furthermore, just 18% consider pills and tablets to be the most effective consumption format, compared to 49% and 24% for food and drink respectively.
“This preference for, and perceived effectiveness of, food and drinks in comparison to pills, stems from boredom with traditional formats as well as the belief that food and drink can offer comparable health benefits to non-prescription medicines,” says Felgate.
Manufacturers might also benefit from personalising health products, she says. Globally, 41% of consumers have a favourable perception of products personalised to their needs.
This sentiment increases among the most health conscious consumer groups, such as frequent exercisers (44%) and those who claim to actively use food and drink to improve their health (49%), highlighting the necessity for brands in the health space to take a more personal approach.
“The need for innovation ever-more closely aligned to individual consumer requirements is growing, as the personalised health trend persists,” says Felgate.
“Brands could personalize products by appealing to consumers’ specific age and gender, lifestyle preferences, or even blood type or DNA. We are already seeing brands like ManFlu – a range of cold and flu remedies for men – capitalize on this space, but in the future personalisation will become increasingly more closely tailored to an individual’s own needs.”