Poor and low-income people have often suffered health-wise because of lack of access to healthy, nutritious food. All-natural and organic food products, as well as those that avoid using certain cheap but unhealthy ingredients, have tended to be priced out of the budgets of poorer people. With 638.3 million people globally classified as low-income by the World Bank as of 2015, that’s a lot of the human population in need of more affordable healthy food options.
Poor and low-income people often lack the time for sufficient exercise, they are under heavy amounts of stress and they cannot afford the prevailing healthy food choices, with all of these factors making them more susceptible to diseases such as obesity and diabetes. To address this deep problem, the Mintel Global New Products Database tells us that the number of new food and drink launches around the globe claiming to be “economical” increased 25% between September 2010 and August 2016.
This rise in the number of economical but healthy food products is being market-driven. Food producers desire to reach more consumers. In fact, those new, economical products most often used the word “premium” in their descriptions.
But there is much more progress to be made. Mintel research finds that non-working adults in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland are slightly more prepared than the overall adult population to change their lifestyles for enhanced health. This is a marketing opportunity that ought to be targeted.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., 42% of low-income households ($25,000 or less annually) say that they want to eat more vegetables, but only 27% are doing so compared to the previous year. Likewise, Mintel finds that in China, 51% of low-income households are now spending more on healthier foods than they were a year ago, but that’s fairly far behind the 62% of high-income Chinese adults doing the same.
Coming up with more economical healthy food choices for low-income consumers would have an important psychological impact on them, too. For instance, Mintel finds that in Canada 69% of households with less than $25,000 of annual income say that “being healthy gives me a sense of pride”, compared with 82% who make over $100,000 annually who respond the same way. In Canada, the statement “being healthy gives me a sense of pride” sees a graduated rise in frequency as household incomes go up.
Similar disparity is found in the U.K. Mintel research tells us that there, 40% of adults in socio-economic group DE attempt to eat healthy foods “most of the time”, which is a far cry from the 56% in socio-economic group AB who respond the same way.
Creative food product creation can help close these gaps between who can afford healthy eating and who can’t. For instance, in the U.K. the supermarket Asda puts together boxes of misshapen, but perfectly edible, vegetables retailing for 30% less than its standard produce prices. More ideas like these from food producers and sellers can increase profits and the health of low-income people.
ReportLinker is search engine for economic and industry statistics that turns data and PDF documents into structured knowledge.