9. The Dichotomy of Health. For many Americans, it’s been all talk and no action when it comes to health, according to Mintel. Seventy percent of those surveyed recently said they are in excellent or good health. But these perceptions strongly contradict national statistics pertaining to obesity, illness and wellness.
8. Food Safety Still an Issue. Consumers not only grew skeptical of financial institutions in 2009, but they also started to question the safety of the food supply in the wake of several scandals. In 2010, FDA could be granted new power in the form of mandatory recall authority and administering user fees for food companies. Expect a tighter regulatory environment across the board for anything consumed by humans, and animals.
7. Prevention IS the New Healthcare. According to a recent poll, 70% of Americans ranked investing in prevention between an eight and 10 on a scale of zero to 10; 46% rated prevention a 10. For those without insurance, prevention has been the only means of healthcare in these difficult times.
6. Innovation Revelation. Functional foods continue to find favor with consumers. But with the category approaching maturation, some analysts believe companies will have to step up the innovation behind their brands in order to bring new consumers into the category and stay competitive. They suggest finding new and more frequent usage occasions for these products in order to gain mass appeal.
5. Emphasizing “Health” in Healthcare Reform. 2010 will be a pivotal year for healthcare. Considering the U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, and one of the poorest in terms of performance (currently 37th in the world, according to the WHO), overhauling the system is well overdue. Many experts, especially those in the integrative medicine world, believe redefining “health” in the eyes of the government, insurance companies and consumers is crucial to meaningful changes.
4. Death & Taxes. In the September 17th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of researchers proposed a sugar tax for beverages, arguing that “the science base linking the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages to the risk of chronic disease is clear…thus justifying government’s right to recoup the costs.” Another theory proposed by the Urban Institute and the University of Virginia calls for a fat tax. They believe a 10% excise or sales tax on fattening foods could raise $522 billion over the next 10 years.
3. Fiber: a Functional Food Favorite. Due to its health benefits, fiber has always been an important ingredient in healthy product applications. The difference is today fiber can be found in food products that actually taste good thanks to technological advancements and a proliferation of new fiber ingredients. According to Datamonitor, 7% of all new food products introduced in 2009 featured a “high fiber” claim. Expect that number to grow in the year ahead.
2. Consumer Resiliency. The last year, though difficult for most, was a blessing in disguise for some. Consumers adjusted to the changes by getting back to basics. As a result, cash-strapped families shared more time at the dinner table and assumed a more prominent role in their own healthcare, many choosing nutritious foods and supplements to stay well and ward off illness. This trend will continue in 2010.
1. Broader Acceptance of Alternative Medicine. In December, proposals were brought before the Senate that would allow treatment plans to incorporate alternative medicine providers, as well as expand coverage for alternative therapies. Given that 75% of America’s $2 trillion spent on healthcare includes treating people with highly preventable chronic diseases, the CDC believes money spent on disease prevention, wellness and health education programs—when properly administered—will more than pay for themselves in the long run.