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Food sector should focus more on wellness, global consumer study reveals

The $4.5 trillion global wellness economy – growing twice as fast as the global economy – is now so pervasive that for 73% of global consumers, wellness is now considered an essential element of a brand’s strategy, according to a study by Ogilvy.  

The Ogilvy Wellness Gap study released has quantified the gap between consumers’ wellness expectations of brands and how they judge delivery against those expectations in seven key sectors – including food, snacks, airlines, hotels, and more. 

Ogilvy surveyed 7,000 consumers from 14 countries across 4 continents to gain new insight into how they see wellness in 2020 and to help marketers close the glaring opportunity gaps as they look to growth their businesses. This global research was conducted in April 2020 at a time when wellness declined rapidly for many, placing an increasing significance on wellness as we move into 2021.    

In 2020, 77% of people say wellness is very or extremely important to them. Yet, consumers are still hungry for more: Hungry for more wellness—80% of people want to improve their wellness; Hungry and expecting—75% feel brands could do more for their wellness; Hungry and frustrated—only 46% feel that brands take their wellness as a priority. 

Take major wellness industries like food, which have innovated and grown around wellness for the last two decades. Yet only 41% of global respondents agree the food sector is doing all it should to help them with their wellness.   

“Every brand can be a wellness brand now. Wellness is in many ways the more tangible benefit of ‘purpose.’ We think this is very good news for brands. It shows that wellness remains an opportunity for double digit growth by meeting numerous consumer expectations to close the gap,” says Marion McDonald, Ogilvy’s Global Health & Wellness Practice Lead.  

Every brand can have its fair share of the wellness cake. Another important conclusion of the report is that every brand can grow through wellness. Wellness is no longer a luxury sector of spas, nor the preserve of wellness brands; consumers are very clear about it: 

  • 73% say brands need a wellness strategy as part of their core mission 
  • 67% say there should be more wellness options, regardless of what they are shopping for 
  • 52% expect cars, banks or airlines to offer wellness options—almost equal to the snack foods category (56%) 

The wellness economy offers some of the most exciting growth prospects in consumer goods marketing, and COVID-19 will only accelerate this phenomenon, the study has shown.


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