Consumers will seek out guilt free treats in the wake of Covid-19

By Will Cowling, marketing manager at FMCG Gurus

At any one time across the globe, approximately three in ten consumers are trying to lose weight. Despite this figure, the number of people classified as overweight or obese continues to rise. This means that ultimately, consumers can struggle to adapt to weight management plans. Often this is because consumers are unable to stick to dietary plans in the long-term because of the desire to enjoy daily indulgences. In the wake of Covid-19, more consumers are looking to lose weight, something that will place renewed emphasis on the health and wellness industry on helping consumers achieve these goals.

Obesity is something that continues to be a major problem for society from a health and economical perspective. Moreover, despite decades of health stakeholders and consumers trying to address the problem, it is something that is intensifying as opposed to becoming less serious. FMCG Gurus research conducted in 2019 found that 30% on consumers were on a diet to lose weight, a marginal increase of less than five percent compared to when the same question was asked a year before. This shows that continuously, approximately three in ten consumers are looking to lose weight. However, when doing so, consumers can often feel that are many barriers to this being successful. For instance, in 2019, hidden sugar in food and drink (6%) and the desire to enjoy treats for indulgence purposes (5%) were highlighted as the two main barriers.

In the wake of Covid-19, there will be more emphasis on consumers looking to lose weight than ever before. For instance, over the period April-July 2020, FMCG Gurus ran three waves of surveys questioning people about their attitudes and behaviors in relation to the virus. The research found that there was a month-on-month increase in the proportion of consumers who said that they were concerned about their waistlines (21%-32%-37%), whilst this is also the case when it comes to consumers who are planning to lose weight in the near future (29%-37%-40%). Concerns about waistlines can be related to initial restrictions on movement impacting on the ability to exercise, as well as increased levels of comfort eating because of high levels of uncertainty faced.

Nevertheless, consumers will be increasingly concerned about the immediate and long-term implications associated with excess weight and will want to address this. At the same time, consumers will continue to be prone to moments of escapism for comfort purposes, to deal with the pressures of everyday life. As such, consumers will want the food and drink market to help facilitate this by offering solutions that help consumers manage their weight in a hassle-free manner. This is something that will be especially crucial in the impulse and snack market, as consumers increasingly seek out products that they deem guilt-free and conveniently nutritious, so that they can continue to enjoy moments of indulgence without worrying about the impact on health.

This article is based on the following surveys:

  • Q4 2019 – Weight Management survey series – 15,000 consumers across 15 countries
  • April 2020 COVID-10 survey series – 23,000 consumers across 18 countries
  • May 2020 COVID-10 survey series – 23,000 consumers across 18 countries
  • July 2020 COVID-19 survey series – 23,000 consumers across 18 countries

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