The firm found that while a majority of young men have a positive attitude toward health, placing importance on regular exercise, eating fruit and vegetables, reducing fat, salt and alcohol, drinking plenty of water, keeping stress levels down and not smoking, the survey analysis also indicated a gap between how young men perceived health and what they did to achieve their health-related goals.
“The pressures and temptations of modern life contribute greatly to the challenges young men face with making fundamental lifestyle changes,” said Daphne Kasriel, consumers editor at Euromonitor International. “We see it in rising obesity rates and high levels of smoking prevalence. But this also presents opportunities for marketers to educate young male consumers on proper nutrition, weight-loss plans and available health and wellness products."
“Efforts to further educate young men about healthy eating may also be supported by young men’s love of sports,” Ms. Kasriel added. “The rapid expansion of sports nutrition products into mainstream retailing continues to appeal to this demographic and speaks to the larger market for sports-related products and services.”
Two countries enjoying a robust sports nutrition segment are the U.K. and Brazil, where sales have increased by 128% and 131%, respectively, between 2006 and 2011, to reach $373 million and $191 million. In Japan, however, the sports nutrition segment growth was sluggish.
In addition, products falling within the better-for-you, naturally healthy, functional food and organic, mineral water categories also benefitted from increased health awareness among young male consumers because more SKUs are being aimed toward the young male segment, and they include sports nutrition, food intolerance products and men’s sports apparel, according to Euromonitor.
During its consumer survey process, Euromonitor uncovered a number of interesting findings.
For instance, the U.K. and U.S.—the countries most associated with “junk foods”—were ranked among the top countries in which young men were most aware of the dangers of hidden sugars and fats.
Vitamin and dietary supplement consumption was also a part of the study focus. Taking supplements and vitamins was most common among young men in the U.S. (51%) and least common in Japan and France (18% and 19%, respectively).
Smoking among young men aged 15-29 was found to be highest in France, where 36% reported smoking regularly, while 40% of British and 39% of German young men reported drinking alcohol regularly.
Chinese men proved to be the most concerned about eating fruit and vegetables. Ninety percent thought fruit and veggie consumption was an important component to overall health compared to just 67% in France. Along the same vein, red meat avoidance and vegetarianism/veganism were also significantly higher among young men (30%) than among the general population (23%).
And women aren’t the only sex watching their figures. As many as 34% of young men were found to be on a weight loss diet. Euromonitor said it found the highest amount of young male dieters in the U.K. (41%) while the lowest were found in China (26%). Interestingly, Euromonitor reported that obesity in Japan was at a very low level by Western standards, although it has grown in recent years. “By 2011, the incidence of obesity among males had reached 5.8%, compared with 4.6% in 2006. Nevertheless, young men in Japan are conscious of their appearance and as many as 40% of those surveyed claimed to be on a diet trying to lose weight.”
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