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What’s top of our trend list for Health in 2024

January is a time where health really comes into focus for retail. Below are our top observations over the last month.

Following a record breaking Christmas for the retailers driven by strong promotional activity alongside some novel seasonal innovation our Levercliff consumer tracker highlights how consumers appetite for trying new products is returning with 88% of consumers claiming to have tried a new product recently up from 64% this time last year. When probed what consumers would like to see going forward, the top response was a desire for brands to develop healthier products, as 36% of consumers state physical wellness as a priority for 2024.

January is a time where health really comes into focus for retail. Below are our top observations over the last month.


Has Veganuary reached it’s peak?

39% of people who eat meat/fish are actively replacing meals with vegetarian or vegan meals at least once a week*, however the meat alternative category in both fresh and frozen is in decline  YOY vs last January  (-8.2% and -13.7% in volume respectively)**.

Purchase drivers vary, with vegans and vegetarians motivated through sustainability and ethical reasons, whilst the larger audience, non-vegan and vegetarians are driven by saving money and better health*. As prices increase by 6% in fresh meat substitutes and 5% in frozen, price per pack is very comparable to meat or often more expensive at a price per KG level, this is likely to be influencing consumer purchase decisions in the current climate as the Levercliff consumer tracker reveals 73% of consumers state rising prices remain their top concern within food and drink.

Notably in store this year, the focus from retailers has been towards ambient snacking, particularly with Asda cross branded Veganuary gondola ends featuring Eat Real, Hippeas and Deliciously Ella. This is a more accessible route for consumers to add plant based foods into their lifestyle with less risk in terms of taste and at an affordable price. So whilst meat substitutes may be plateauing this year, the demand for plant based snacking continues to grow.

*Nielsen Homescansurvey Nov 23

** NIQ RMS | 4WE 27.01.24 | Total Coverage inc Discounters)


Dryish January

Low and No alcohol category continues to gain momentum driven by beer which accounts for over half of the market value climbing to 4.5% share of total  Beer, up from 3.4% last year; whilst Value growth (+41.0%) outpaced Total Beer (+7.5%)*.  Despite the breadth of range for shoppers continually evolving,  sectors outside of beer have struggled, with YOY volume down on wine and spirits. The likelihood is that beer is a higher frequency drink during the week which is more likely to be substituted with a non-alcoholic variant than wine or spirits which have higher usage on the weekend or for celebratory occasions when only the real deal will do. Also almost twice as many men than women use cutting down on alcohol as away to lose/maintain weight***

The Levercliff consumer tracker highlights that 19% of consumers are looking to cut down on alcohol consumption this year for health reasons and retailers have shown increased support for the No/Low category this January with dedicated gondola ends. Sainsburys supported with Nectar prices across Tanqueray 0% gin, Captain Morgan 0%, McGuigan Zero and Peroni 0% to name but a few, but strategically placed next to these ends were FSDU’s from  TRIP CBD infused drinks offering consumer a slightly different alternative to relax and rewind.

Further pressure has been placed on the BWS category with changes to duty enforced from August last year leading to alcohol prices rising over 10%. With cost of living still front of mind for consumers, this is surely a catalyst for shoppers to cut back, the question is will they abstain and reduce consumption or switch into No/Low.

*NIQ Scantrack | Total Coverage | MAT to 30.12.23 & 4 WE27.1.24 vs YA

***The Levercliff consumer tracker Jan 24/May 23


Protein for the People

The high protein trend continues to gain mass appeal with the callout now established across several categories and consumers familiar with the benefits. According to Innova over 20% of global NPD contained a protein claim last year*.

Convenience is the key driver when it comes to high protein products and with lock down days well and truly behind us, consumers are selling their Pelotons and heading back to the gym, therefore portable high protein snacks are back with a bang.

The sports nutrition bar category continues to see strong performance +29% January YOY driven by new shoppers coming into the category as boundaries blur and sports nutrition products make their way into front of store positioning due to Non HFSS recipe re-development from key brands and a move into the main cereal bar fixtures with multipack formats offering better value for money.  Retailers have also got behind this category in January this year with Sainsbury’s allocating a bay of secondary space within its promotional Nectar price aisle and more of these types of products now included in lunch time meal deals across all the major multiples.
With Modelez and Ferrero now holding key stakes in this category, the use of confect brands such as Oreo to drive further appeal with consumers is a key change this year. Something we are seeing more and more of with Trek launching a Biscoff licenced bar this week. As a category with around 20% penetration according to Mintel, there is still plenty of headroom for further growth.

*Innova – Jan 23

Gut Reaction

Although the trend is still in its infancy, Gut health has gained momentum over the past year thanks to Tim Spector and the Zoe personalised nutrition program and is now a concern of 22% of consumers, particularly  over 55’s, (26%)*. However more education around gut health is required as consumer understanding is still relatively low. The recent Netflix documentary will certainly have helped build some understanding and a high proportion of the  consumers concerned about gut health are aware of the importance of eating a range of fruit and vegetables, limiting UPF’s and increasing fibre intake, yet when it comes to Pre and Pro biotics, only 17% of those claimed to consume to support their gut health.

In January M&S paired up with the Zoe initiative and launched the co-branded gut shot in a hard to miss bright yellow refrigerated fixture. Judging by the empty shelves in the first week of launch, it would appear to be a hit with the more affluent M&S shoppers, we will wait with baited breath to see if this partnership is rolled out into other categories.

***The Levercliff consumer tracker Jan 24/May 23

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