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Packaged Facts sees rise of foods targeted to specific health conditions


Related topics: Health and nutritional ingredients, Markets

Increased recognition that diet plays an important role in a range of health conditions is spurring sales in targeted foods and beverages, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

The report, "Targeted Health and Wellness Foods and Beverages: The US Market and Global Trends", says an aging population and higher healthcare costs are also driving the sector, with shoppers willing to pay more in a wider range of outlets for targeted products. But it is increased recognition among scientists, government, practitioners and consumers that diseases are linked to diet that is the key driver, the market research organization said.


Publisher of Packaged Facts David Sprinkle said: "Two-thirds of US grocery shoppers have purchased a food or beverage in the past year for the purpose of addressing one or more specific health and wellness conditions or concerns, with cholesterol management and digestive health of particular concern."


Conditions and diseases related to diet are among the leading causes of death in the United States, and consumers are looking to their diets to ward off heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and diabetes.


The targeted health and wellness category includes functional foods and nutraceuticals, as well as foods for special dietary use and medical foods, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Packaged Facts survey data found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay more for a food positioned as ‘better for you’, and one-quarter say health practitioners’ recommendations are important in deciding which grocery items to buy to target a specific condition.


“The health benefit reputation of a food, beverage, or ingredient is the most significant factor when grocery shoppers are making a purchase decision based on a specific personal or household health concern,” the researcher said. “This underscores that it is important for marketers to convey health benefits credibly, clearly, consistently, and frequently.”