Healthy is the New Cool

Consumers choose brands that are an extension of their identity and today that means an active, healthier lifestyle. According to Nielsen, an estimated 2.1 billion people – nearly 30% of the global population – are overweight. Consumers are changing their diets, exercising more, turning to diet pills and protein shakes, or even getting prescription weight-loss medicines. As a result, healthy brand categories are growing fast and people are willing to pay a premium for better products. In fact, the global sales of healthy food products are expected to reach $1 trillion by 2017.

Brands who sell food products are reformulating to eliminate the bad – sugars, cholesterols – and injecting more organic ingredients. As Nielsen’s report states, “The most desirable attributes are foods that are fresh, natural and minimally processed.” And 88% of people are willing to pay more to get it. Consumers purchase decisions are now influenced by products that reduce the risk of disease, promote good health, and show off a healthy lifestyle.

Business Insider states, “In 2013, 42% of people said they’d be embarrassed to be spotted carrying a bag from McDonald’s.” The majority of Americans are “actively trying to be healthier” so brands need to start promoting themselves as such. This year we’ll see trends in athleisure wear, intense fitness programs, meditation, and healthier eating options. As Business Insider states, “Publicly signaling that you’re a healthy, nutrition-savvy individual is the new cool.” People would prefer to be spotted wearing a FitBit or Lululemon attire and with the explosion of social media, people want to publically share their life choices.

This is where the power of social media can actually help get people in shape. The explosion of selfies and constant updates about one’s life has taken social media by storm and everyone wants to look good. What you wear, what you do and where you go says something about yourself. It’s self-advertising if you will. So it’s time for brands to step up to this growing demand.  Companies like Coke and Pepsi are doing just that with Dasani and Aquafina, respectively. With the decline in soda consumption, these two beverage giants are turning their focus on bottled water. Taking a page out of Evian’s book, they are looking to associate health and wellness with their brands.

The health movement is on the rise and with the power of social influence it’s time to make a change to our lifestyle. It’s not a means to an end; it’s the start of hopefully a long, active journey.