Growing Global Health Awareness Could Mean Big Business for Manufacturers

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The battle against the bulge is a global phenomenon that could translate into real opportunity for manufacturers, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Nearly half (49%) of the global respondents in Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight. Obesity rates around the world are accelerating and not just in developed countries. In fact, 62% of the world’s 671 million obese individuals live in developing markets, according to the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study. The study estimated that 2.1 billion people (nearly 30% of the global population) were overweight or obese. Nielsen’s study shows that consumers are attempting to take charge of their health—50% are actively trying to lose weight and 88% are willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes to some degree.

The obesity crisis and consumer desire to become healthier could be a growth driver for manufacturers who better align their offerings to consumer needs and desires for healthier food. Roughly 75% of global respondents believe they “are what they eat” and nearly 80% are actively using foods to forestall health issues and medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for food manufacturers and retailers to lead a healthy movement by providing the products and services that consumers want and need,” said Susan Dunn, executive vice president, Global Professional Services, Nielsen. “While diet fads come and go overtime, innovative, back-to-basics foods that taste good, are easy to prepare and provide healthful benefits will have staying power. The first step is knowing where to put your product development efforts.”

The Nielsen Global Health & Wellness Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to identify how consumers feel about their body image and the steps they’re taking to get healthier.


Consumers believe health attributes in the foods they eat are important, but are they willing to pay more for the benefits they provide? The answer is yes—to a degree. Dividing global respondents into four buckets of spending intent, the highest percentages are only moderately willing to pay a premium for health claims—an average of 38% across 27 attributes included in the study. About one-quarter of global respondents are very willing to pay a premium (27%), followed by 23% who are slightly willing and 12% who are not willing. While there was not one health attribute that swayed dramatically from these spending intention buckets globally, a few regional differences prevail.

Source: Market Watch (link opens in a new window)

Agriculture, Health Care