Shelves in the time of a health revolution

What should brands be doing to appeal to changing views of health

Is there really such a thing as ‘FMCG’ anymore? We believe that those FMCG brands that are going to see success in the long run are those that can see beyond their sector. As the boundaries between health, tech, and FMCG become increasingly blurry, and as FMCG reduces its dependency on retailers by developing in B2C, we’re tapping into our expertise across sectors to explore how brands can innovate and change the game more rapidly, with better joined up thinking. It’s time to ask yourself if being single minded is making you narrow minded… Can FMCG really win on its own? Click here to read the other blogs in this series.

The relationship between health and food has always been apparent, but for years, health  has been the defining factor. As people’s interest in, and knowledge and understanding of, healthcare expanded, food brands reacted.

This dynamic is what has led to the “plus/minus” approach to health that’s dominated shelves for the past decade or so. Low fat cheese, high protein snacks and hidden veg are all testament to the prevalence of this approach.

This approach is a hangover from a time when health in food was prescriptive, where healthcare information was spread predominantly through government information and campaigns such as ‘5 a day’. Nowadays health, and what constitutes health food is no longer a top down, rational decision.

Consumers now have a broader perspective on what constitutes good health and a clearer understanding of the wider benefits healthy lifestyles offer. While some of these perspectives are more credible than others, it presents an interesting scenario.

For the first time, consumers can be empowered to choose what health means to them, and in turn, the sort of benefit they look for. The emergence of non-coeliac gluten free, countless column inches devoted to drinking more water, and the growth of “wellness” is evidence that health is not as one dimensional and feature led as it used to be.

Some brands are demonstrating the cutting edge of this trend; Pukka’s range of teas focused on emotional end benefits, and Huel’s core proposition of being ‘nutritionally complete’ are showing the way forward in a category where health is well rounded.

In a world where consumers consider their well being more holistically, brands have to respond by adding value rather than tweaking formulations to build their authority in this increasingly dominant space on shelves.

With the likelihood that our health becomes more digital, and the impact of our choices more measurable, now is the time to act with credibility and authority.

Putting all our thoughts on the subject into practice, we recently helped a major FMCG brand map the adult nutrition category, identifying opportunities for them to develop preventative health solutions that solved a range of health needs. To hear more about our work in the Health and FMCG category please email

By: The Value Engineers

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