A New Hope survey shows that today’s consumer wants enhanced experiences: mentally, emotionally and physically.
Younger consumers define health differently. Surprisingly, in an age of health trackers like the Apple Watch and Oura Ring, as well as a multitude of data-gathering apps, millennials and Generation Z are turning to their feelings to assess their health.
These feelings range from experiential – how my body feels, my energy level, how well rested I am – to genuinely emotional, indicating whether they feel happy or sad. This is a growing shift that could redefine health as something more introspective than measurable. While still available, fact-based measures such as weight, BMI, blood tests and the like are of less importance among consumers, who will be a larger cohort than Boomers in the next decade.
The New Hope NEXT Data and Insights team discovered this emerging trend in its research on the changing consumer and observed a similar redefinition among mainstream supplement users and progressive shoppers, who buy progressive values, not just health.
This research looks at generational shifts not to stereotype, but to explore directional societal changes. That future appears to be one of a balance between feelings and facts influenced by various formal and informal sources and considered on a daily basis. And while being in touch with oneself, experts, and influencers can make everyone smarter, the struggles to keep up and do so remain real.
Tapping into that healthy feeling
Consumers are asking: How will it make me feel? Experience makes it real. It’s a shift for both supplements and healthy eating, with consumers sharing their experiences of feeling the diet rather than measuring changes in health markers like cholesterol or even the number on the scale.
Once upon a time, data-driven consumers would turn to every study they could to research and support their supplement purchasing decisions.
Today, simplicity rules. Data is important, but not on the front of the package or in the minds of consumers.
Rachel Marshall, head of technical engagement at ingredient manufacturer Fonterra USA, brought this concept to life for NFM’s sister team at Nutrition Business Journal.
She is helping brands introduce a new soothing dairy phospholipid ingredient. Fonterra has studies documenting the calming effect, but doesn’t tell brands to spend on the label citing those studies. He points out that Olly, like CV Sciences, calls its sleep product “SLEEP.”
“They call attention to the fact that it contains melatonin, but that’s not what they’re leading with,” Marshall said. This is especially important for Generation Z consumers and Millennials.
“There’s been a big shift in supplements,” Marshall said. That shift, he explained, goes “from what this ingredient is to what the ingredient is actually going to do for me.”
All generations place weight among their top concerns. But weight loss programs represent all too well how changing definitions of health come to life in the marketplace. Think WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Jenny Craig. These programs used to focus on numbers: calories, points for food, before and after photos showing the history of the scale. Now we have “intuitive eating” and Noom, the psychology-centered weight loss tool focused on permanent change and positive body image.
Tell me, who do you trust?
Along with defining change comes changing the sources sought in their health journey.
There is a 30-point difference between Generation Z and baby boomer’s trust in the conventional healthcare system. Across all generations, trust starts low and rises with age. Here’s how trust rises:
- 41% Generation Z.
- 51% Millennials.
- 55% Generation X.
- 71% Boomers.
Boomers trust doctors and pharmacists the most when looking for health and wellness-related information. And while doctors rank first among all consumers (76%), Generation Z and Millennials trust a broader range of people, including registered dietitians, family members and friends.
Twelve percent trust specialists at health food stores, which tops social media at 8%.
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