Datamonitor’s report – ‘Profiting from Consumer Mega-Trends in the UAE and Saudi Arabia’ – highlights how corporates can access and benefit from increasing consumer health awareness. Topics such as stress, holistic and transparency attitudes are subjects the report delves into.
Based primarily on 2,000 consumer interviews (1,000 in the UAE and 1,000 in Saudi Arabia), it identifies how consumers’ relationships with health is becoming more multifaceted. Dieting is still a major feature of regional consumer behaviour: 38% of UAE and 35% of Saudi consumers are still trying to diet on a regular basis. However, consumers are no longer focused solely on reducing food intake or avoiding ‘bad nutrients’. 62% of UAE and 55% of Saudi consumers are actively seeking out products with ‘added’ health benefits.
Product labelling has become a major related consumer issue, with 61% of UAE and 56% of Saudi consumers declaring that they use information written on packaging to make product choices all or most of the time. Manufacturers need to respond with clearer labels that can be ‘digested’ at a glance. 42% of UAE and 46% of Saudi consumers find health-related information confusing, indicating a greater need for improvement.
An increased sensitivity to allergies and intolerance are another emerging consequence of heightened health awareness, the report uncovered. Currently, 68% of UAE and 75% of Saudi consumers avoid products because of visceral, though often unfounded, allergy/intolerance fears. Clever product labelling, which also advertises what a product lacks, can in many cases help manufacturers establish a price premium for products and cement brand loyalty.
Product transparency and ‘risk management’ are becoming much more important for food, beverage and personal care industry players as supply chains become longer, more complex and trans-national. Simple measures such as specifying product country of origin have a significant effect on product choice.
The report has discovered that health is increasingly viewed in holistic terms by regional consumers. Not only are they more conscious of environmental health and the potential health benefits of living an ‘ethical’ life, many are proactively trying to live a balanced, sustainable lifestyle.
Stress levels and demands on time, particularly in the wake of the global financial crisis, have become more acute. More than half of UAE and Saudi consumers now feel more stressed than they did six months ago. However, health-aware consumers are actively seeking stress-relieving solutions and means to maximise leisure time. Marketing communications, as a result, need to empathise with consumers’ struggle to achieve a more well-rounded and fundamentally healthier lifestyle.
The holistic health trend will be hugely important simply because health considerations are having a growing influence on consumer behaviour. Because the growing demand for healthy products will not only be driven by those strictly maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but also by mainstream consumers who are attempting to live a little healthier, the opportunities for different product tiers or brand architectures that cater to differing degrees of health consciousness will define the regional consumer market in the years ahead.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020