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Segments driving the health market

By Sarah Hills , 04-Dec-2008

The market for healthy and organic products is largely driven by two active consumer groups, according to research which splits shoppers into five categories based on their attitudes and habits.

The health and wellness trend is strong among nearly a third of consumers according to Nielsen & Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)’s segmentation analysis based on 63,000 shoppers in the US.

The research identified five specific groups of consumers based on attitudes and behaviors toward health, wellness, organic products, supplements, exercise and associated topics.

It showed that the most health aware group, dubbed the “Well Beings”, make up 25 percent of the population and spend more on natural, organic and healthy products than other groups.

Nielsen said: “In their pursuit of health, Well Beings seek out more alternative healthcare services than other cohorts and demonstrate a stronger commitment to environmentally sound solutions.”

This segment also appears indifferent to cost, although they are unlikely to be swayed by brand image. However, they tend to patronize companies that share core values.

They are followed by the so-called “Food Actives”, which are dedicated to achieving health through proper nutrition and make up 16 percent of the population.

Nielsen said: “Balance best describes their attitude toward wellness, as they take a holistic approach factoring in exercise, nutrition and weight management.”

Food Actives are calorie-conscious and look for ways to reduce their calorie count, such as substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar.

Consumer segments

At the other extreme is the “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” group, which accounts for 23 percent of the population, who do not care much or know about healthy eating.

Meanwhile the “Magic Bullets” (19 percent of the population) prefer to take a supplement rather than concentrate on a healthier diet.

And the “Fence Sitters” (17 percent of shoppers) tend to be younger and are more concerned with the family budget than diet.

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