“More than a third of shoppers surveyed by IGD place an importance on eating more fruit and vegetables to lead a healthier lifestyle, with a further one in five looking to eat more fresh produce in particular.”
Purdy also argues that Florette’s brand name is important for retailers and he points to Lumina research which suggests that in top-up shops 63% of consumers look for known brands.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an obvious source of sales when shoppers are looking to buy healthier products, but drinks should not be overlooked.
Bottled water (see panel) routinely gets a New Year sales boost and most producers encourage retailers to take advantage, with many in 2023 pointing towards flavoured waters as a particular growth area.
Consumers also tend to turn more to vegetarian and vegan options in January, underlining a continuing trend for people to eat less meat and buy more vegetarian food because it is associated with a healthier overall lifestyle.
This clearly benefits some of the big-brand vegetarian names, such as Quorn, which says the reasons for more interest in its products include the pandemic, which encouraged people to think more about what they are eating in order to remain healthy.
That trend has been accelerated with the growing popularity of Veganuary in recent years.
If the pandemic is one lingering influence on this year’s round of resolutions, then the cost-of-living crisis may be an even greater factor. Andrew Bradshaw, UK sales director at packaged fruit company Dole, highlights the economical mindset of consumers in 2023 as a key selling point for its longer-lasting products.
He says: “The current cost-of-living crisis means consumers are changing their shopping behaviour and becoming increasingly conscious of product value for money, incorporating quality, waste, convenience and choice, which is where ambient products can increasingly have a role to play.”
Bradshaw backs this up with Mintel’s finding that nearly a third of customers say money concerns make them eat less healthily than they otherwise might. He says: “This really highlights the importance of retailers and brands who are committed to supporting healthier choices for their customers, and specifically helping people to eat healthily on a budget.”
Bradshaw adds that Dole’s advantage in these circumstances is not just that shelf life means less waste, but also that its products have no added sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavourings and are under 100 calories for each serving.
The stress on no added sugar is important – a recent survey by Streetbees of 50,000 consumers found the top attribute for them in deciding what to eat or drink was “no added or low sugar” content.