Making Wellness More Than a Buzzword

Photo credit:  Patient Care Technician

Photo credit: Patient Care Technician

One of our favorite truisms is that health-conscious consumers want more information, not less. If you've talked to us or worked with us at all over the past 15 years, you've likely heard us say it at some point.

This insight comes from years of helping healthy brands get the message out to health-conscious consumers through the health professionals they trust most for nutrition guidance.

We've encouraged healthy brands to go beyond a health headline and add meaningful content and context to the messages they deliver to consumers looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

So, it wasn't surprising to us to read this recent article by Elizabeth Crawford at FoodNavigator about research Jenny Craig has conducted that supports this very idea.

Jenny Craig surveyed more than 600 Americans and found that:

"...[C]onsumer confusion about the meaning of 'wellness' could cause marketing campaigns centered on the concept to fall flat unless companies more clearly define - and back with science - how their products support consumers' health."

The research found that Americans understand, for example, that a healthy weight is an important component of wellness, but when you ask them how to define wellness, more than half don't know.

Even a decade ago, a health and wellness "halo" was enough to boost a brand in the minds of health-conscious consumers, and that halo was all marketers needed to position their brands as healthy solutions.

But times have changed. Consumers are significantly more savvy about health and wellness—and skeptical about unsupported claims. In fact, the Jenny Craig research found that 43% of consumers felt strongly that wellness was simply a buzzword.

The responsibility to disabuse the American public of this notion rests in the hands of food companies. First, by developing and supporting foods that are well grounded in nutrition and science. Second, by listening to consumers and providing the information, content, and context they are demanding to better understand what makes a particular brand "healthy" or a meaningful contributor to their "wellness." The health and wellness market is booming, but the challenge for marketers remains the same—how to cut through the clutter with an authentic message.

Another of our favorite truisms is that we are living in a trust economy. For healthy brands, that trust comes by countering consumer skepticism with real information delivered by trusted sources like health professionals.