Kerry: Health, Wellness Primary Concerns for Modern Consumers

What’s the mindset of the average American consumer in 2022?

Kerry, a global food company, examined that question last week in a webinar titled “How America Eats: Creating Data-Driven Success for Food Brands.”

“We’ve been working on this campaign, How America Eats, because we really wanted to understand what that looks like as we head into a post[-pandemic] type of world,” noted webinar moderator Shannon Coco, strategic marketing director with Kerry. “How we’ve eaten in America over the last five years alone has dramatically changed and evolved.”

One of the biggest keys to winning customers is appealing to their desire to be healthier. Today’s consumers often demand health and wellness benefits from the foods and beverages they buy, the webinar panelists noted, such as:

  • weight management
  • immune support
  • healthy aging
  • mood management

“A key piece that has really evolved over the last year alone has been a higher focus on the emotional aspects – cognitive wellness,” said Soumya Nair, global consumer insight and research director with Kerry. “And we will continue to see those functional ingredients, and then nutrition-specific products, out in the marketplace as well.”

Salty snacks also continue to generate interest, Coco said, citing examples like vegan cheddar potato chips.

“A lot of us see [salty snacks] whether you’re at a C-store or your grandma’s pantry and looking for a snack to enjoy,” Coco said. “But one of the gaps where [we] saw opportunity for this category and how we could apply it, was thinking about how we capture the lifestyle and health benefits that consumers are prioritizing.’”

Indulgence is behind many grocery and C-store purchases in 2022, as well, with many seeking occasional “self-rewards,” such as a small piece of chocolate. A recent Kerry survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers revealed 46% are driven by satisfying cravings when buying snacks.

If your brand can “own” a particular nutritional benefit with an otherwise largely indulgent dessert, “you’re able to really create a sensory experience that will drive more for your customers,” Coco said.

Now more than ever, she added, brands need to prioritize meeting specific desires of their target audience. And, increasingly, those desires are health related.

“Say, ‘Where am I today? What are those table stakes and key needs that I’m meeting with my brand?’” the marketing expert told the webinar audience. “What are the one or two unmet needs that my brand can really drive and own – how are you standing out?”