Whether it's a discussion about immunity, resilience, or how to stay safe within the context of COVID-19, the umbrella under which such concerns and behaviors fall would typically be that of health and wellness: we've covered consumer trends within the context of health and wellness for decades now, and during the pandemic, we’ve been observing changes in consumer behavior through the lens of health and wellness itself as well as topics that connect by dotted lines like functional foods, beverages, and supplements, food sourcing, and eating behavior (to name just a few). 

During the summer of the pandemic in 2020, we also made some observations on how culturally our values are changing and, along with those changes, new linkages were appearing in terms of consumer perceptions of quality in relation to health and wellness. 

Specifically, our Value in the Time of COVID-19 white paper predicted that the pandemic will result in an expansion of the considerations that consumers bring to their assessment of goods and services, impacting not only their willingness to pull the “purchase lever” but how they form relationships with products and brands. 

Value in the Time of COVID-19 includes focused analysis of quality (and the rise of health and wellness-related dimensions), relevance (and our deepened focus on utility and consciousness of waste), and experience (with associated connections to enjoyment and engagement). 

One major point from the white paper: COVID-19 has raised the stakes of quality in the calculus of value and prompted consumers to reframe quality attributes in line with broader health and wellness culture. Specific to this point, the paper notes:

"… for a growing number of consumers, the question ‘Does it taste good?’ is now secondary to the questions ‘How does this item make me more resilient?’ and ‘Does it support my health near- and long term?’ This is not to say that taste and flavor are at odds with health. However, quality considerations such as ingredient lists, flavor distinctions, production techniques and narratives are being expressly scrutinized as evidence of nutrient density and targeted functional benefits in addition to taste and performance. During the pandemic, we are seeing the rise of health-related quality distinctions play out via the increased usage/purchase of certain categories. For example, as the issue of immunity has never been more important than it is now, a number of consumers report incorporating supplements, functional foods and wellness strategies more and/or for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred."

Certainly, going forward, immunity will be an ongoing topic of importance, along with a wide range of attitudes, concerns, and behaviors that relate to health and wellness. We will be updating our Health + Wellness 2019 report with a new study fielding in February 2021. 

The Health + Wellness 2021 study will examine how a nearly full year of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ongoing trends and shaped new habits and attitudes around what health and wellness means today. This syndicated research study will be ideally timed to take stock of where 12 months of a national pandemic have left the U.S. consumer in terms of evolving lifestyles and attitudes around health and well-being.  

More information on the new study is available here.