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More Foods, Beverages Cater to Specific Health Conditions

ROCKVILLE, Md.—The market for targeted health and wellness foods and beverages is a dynamic and promising one, driven largely by an aging population and the growing recognition of the instrumental role diet plays in a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and diabetes, according to a new report from market researcher Packaged Facts.

According to the “Targeted Health and Wellness Foods and Beverages: The U.S. Market and Global Trends" report, the targeted health and wellness foods and beverages category is distinct from, but related to, product categories including functional foods, nutraceuticals, and condition-specific nutritional supplements, as well as the FDA-defined categories of foods for special dietary use and medical foods.

"Two-thirds of U.S. 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," said David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts.

According to the report, targeted health and wellness food shoppers are exceptionally willing to pay more for "better-for-you" products, as well as to shop for these products in a wider range of outlets. 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. This underscores the importance for marketers to convey health benefits credibly, clearly, consistently and frequently.

Nearly half of grocery shoppers in Packaged Facts' survey indicate that doctors are one of their key sources of information about nutrients in food, and about one-quarter cite other medical professionals. Furthermore, one-quarter of shoppers say a recommendation by a health professional is an important factor when buying grocery products targeting a specific health concern. Therefore, marketing to healthcare practitioners can be a rewarding strategy.

At the same time, grocery shoppers are very proactive about conducting research to educate themselves about diet. Just over half of the grocery shoppers surveyed by Packaged Facts consider health, nutrition, and wellness websites to be among the most valuable sources of information about nutrients in food.

The report analyzes the growing role of clinical evidence in marketing health-promoting properties of THW foods and beverages; the regulatory structures governing health claims in key countries; the increasing complexity of the international targeted health and wellness industry structure; and product and ingredient trends in the U.S. and globally.

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