Digestive health trends in 2022

Published: 7-Mar-2022

Based on the FMCG Gurus “Understanding Digestive Health in 2021” report, Marketing Manager Will Cowling examines the gut health drivers influencing consumers in 2022

Now, more than ever, consumers are taking a prevention rather than cure approach to their health and wellness. They’re being more proactive and taking a more holistic view, recognising that all aspects of health are interlinked. Digestive health is an area in which consumer satisfaction is declining and something — owing to increased links to the immune system — they will look to address during 2022. So, how are consumers addressing their digestive health?

FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that between 2018 and 2020, there was a 6% drop in consumer satisfaction regarding digestive health, leaving only one in two respondents happy. This may be because of the growing rise in digestive health problems that are impacting quality of life and directly affecting long-term health.

This means that, increasingly, consumers will be placing greater emphasis on looking to improve their digestive health, driving demand for products that help to facilitate this.

Survey results also highlight a significant increase in consumers who say they are suffering from problems such as gas, bloating and intolerances to gluten and lactose. The prevalence of digestive health problems can be attributed to three main factors. The first factor to consider is that, globally, society is ageing.

Secondly, meal time habits are changing, which has led to poor dietary practices as consumers substitute meals for snacking options. Finally, owing to the pandemic, there have been greater levels of inactivity, something that negatively impacts the digestive system.

Unsurprisingly, in the wake of COVID-19, there has been a considerable increase in the number of people who want to change their diet and lifestyle to boost their immune system. FMCG Gurus asked these consumers what other areas of their health they were looking to improve as a result.

The research shows that the most popular answer given was digestive wellness, further highlighting how many people recognise a direct link between the two areas and that improving immune health is something that will benefit their digestive well-being.

Furthermore, 85% of global consumers state that they have taken steps to improve their digestive health, such as by changing their diet; 43% also said that they have used probiotics, a significant increase during the last couple of years. This is undoubtedly because of growing public awareness around and the increasing number of consumers seeking out functional products that facilitate the concept of holistic health.

Consumers have also become more aware of prebiotics; 54% have heard of them and, of those, they generally prefer food and drink format products. People feel that these products are tastier, natural, safer and more affordable; as such, they’re easier to incorporate into diets in the long-term.

When seeking out products that offer digestive health claims, consumers would like to see these in a number of different categories. Currently, dairy products (yoghurt, milk) or those associated with breakfast are popular. This shows that demand for such claims is more noticeable in categories associated with being better-for-you, highlighting how consumers are more likely to turn to certain categories to help boost their health.

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