Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s Healthy Living feature, looking at products to help your shoppers live healthier lives. Healthy Living is an uber category in today’s supermarket retailing environment, embracing pretty well anything and everything that can be deemed ‘good for you.’ We’re used to seeing people of all ages walking around carrying bottles of water: as consumers we all think about healthy living. It’s rich pickings for retailers and brand owners alike.
These days the expression ‘lifestyle-related illnesses’ doesn’t refer to complications arising from too much sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, which carried off rock stars in days of yore. Instead it means the effects of those much more down to earth killers, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet and tobacco and alcohol abuse.
Forty years ago life was very different. The bottled water market, for instance, hardly existed. The average man or woman would have scorned today’s notion of healthy living. In 1974 45% of all adults in the UK smoked, and pubs were rammed with drinkers of all ages, many of them a long way under age. Now the number of ex-smokers exceeds that of smokers, and politicians are clamoring for smoking bans in public parks. And if you look under 25, you need ID to buy alcoholic drink in supermarkets. And as for eating our 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, if Gene Hunt from Life On Mars returned to Manchester today – or anywhere else in the UK for that matter – he’d think we’d turned into a bunch of ‘right Jessies.’
Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that people are living longer and healthier lives. They don’t have much choice. Today’s political correctness makes us all aware of the fat, salt and sugar in what we eat, and what a unit of alcohol is.
The majority of people now tend to agree with the new wisdom that leading a healthy lifestyle helps them enjoy their life more. We now know much more about what works for us in terms of sensitivities and tolerances, and what makes our bodies perform best. And we want to spend our money on things that make us feel and look better. Healthy living is good for us, and good for business. So the best thing retailers can do is ‘think’ healthy living, and go all out to make healthy profits.