Wellness gaining traction among young, aging

BELLEVUE, Wash. —Trans fat, salt and sugar—out. Products with a less-guilt-because-this-might-actually-be-good-for-you message—in.

At least that’s been the trend that has continued to gain significant traction across the marketplace over the past 10 years, according to a recent Hartman Group report titled “Reimagining Health and Wellness 2010” that was released last month.

Since 2005, spending on wellness products has grown significantly, with a higher proportion spent on wellness for fresh food categories. The average household spends $148.48 per month (or 19% of all monthly spending) on categories that have a wellness halo, The Hartman Group suggested.

But according to the report, the definition of wellness currently is undergoing a transformation, especially as more than half of all consumers (54%) reported they recently had changed their views on health and wellness, with younger consumers being more likely to have made changes in the past year, the report noted.

Younger consumers, for example, cited stress (51%) and energy levels (47%) as triggers for changing their views on health and wellness. For older demographics, it was the aging process that had them actively in search of wellness solutions. Graying baby boomers, for example, were more frequently shunning consumer packaged goods high in cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats or salt in favor of more “fresh” fare out of concern for their heart health.

“Increased spending on products beneath a wellness umbrella, particularly in fresh categories, reflects what we have been witnessing for more than a decade now,” stated Laurie Demeritt, The Hartman Group president and COO. “Consumer understanding of wellness has moved away from traditional notions of condition treatment and disease prevention, and toward attaining a better quality of life. They are looking for products and services that help them meet their wellness goals and aspirations,” she said.

And they are not necessarily looking for those products and services at smaller, specialty health food stores, or even Whole Foods, anymore. Mass-oriented retailers have been buttressing their product mixes with healthier-for-you choices, and according to The Hartman Group survey, consumers are taking notice. “Consumers talk about the rising relevance of supercenters, [for example], because they are increasing their selection of ‘natural’ brands and products,” the report read.

Considered a complementary “tool” to optimum health and wellness, use of dietary supplements also is on the rise. This is especially the case with vitamin D—60% of surveyed adults have been actively looking to increase the amount of vitamin D in their diets.

Average monthly household wellness spending by category


Source: The Hartman Group “Reimagining Health and Wellness 2010”
CATEGORY 2010 2007 2005
Meat, poultry, seafood $20.22 $18.25 $18.31
Fruits and vegetables 16.81 12.67 14.79
Drugs and supplements 11.08 10.95 9.77
Cereals and bakery 10.73 8.46 9.08
Healthcare services 10.62 8.27 6.07
TOTAL AVG SPENDING $148.48 $115.98 $104.28