Over recent years healthier options and restricted diets have been key growth markets, and 2019 looks to be no exception. Staff Writer Hannah Stevenson explores how small and medium sized enterprises can benefit from the boom in healthier eating and consumer’s ongoing focus on fitness.
Health-conscious consumers are driving vast growth in the health food market, and in 2019 this looks set to grow even further. Despite many economic challenges, customers are keen to spend more of their disposable income on healthy foods and drinks, with a key focus on healthy snacking options to allow them to feel like they haven’t changed their habits but at the same feel virtuous about the snacks they do consume.
There was even a survey from Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety and employment law consultancy, that collated anecdotal evidence that shows that up to a third of managers and business owners are considering putting a stop to high-calorie snacks in the office. Whilst there is no actual evidence of these individuals actually doing this, it is clear that there is an increasing focus on using healthy foods as a means of supporting workers to improve their general wellbeing.
Among those already profiting from the growth in the health food market is Chiltern Foods, which is part of The Food Solutions Group, and has been producing a wide array of products, from award-winning fresh salads to jacket potato fillings, at its Aylesbury site for nearly 30 years. It supplies to some of the UK’s most popular restaurant chains, satisfying the nation’s ever-growing hunger for fresh and healthy menu options, and it has recently announced that it will be expanding its site to accommodate growth in demand for healthier menu options.
For SMEs seeking to use this to their advantage, there are many avenues to take, including creating healthy snacking options, or re-labelling existing ranges to give customers greater clarity on the healthier options available.
Snacking isn’t the only growth market in the health food space: another is plant-based foods, as many consumers turn to vegan or vegetarian diets as a means of reducing both their impact on the environment and their calorie count. According to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in Britain doubled from 2014 to 2016 and, incredibly, doubled again from 276,000 in 2016 to 600,000 in 2018, and this growth shows no signs of stopping. The society hosts an annual event, every January, known as Veganuary, where newcomers attempt to spend the month eating no meat, dairy or animal by-products such as honey.
With this growth, companies can explore the extension of new menu or product options such as faux-meat, substitutes for dairy products or even simply re-labelling products that are already vegan to market them specifically to this market- for example jam, which is naturally usually vegan, could incorporate a sticker on the jar to show this and entice devotees of the diet to explore the product. Firms could even create vegan ranges to bring in a new clientele.
So, with 2019 set to be a great year for the healthy eating sector, now is the time to invest in the market and explore new opportunities!