Health as Status Symbol

Healthy living is developing into a “status” culture and food is a big part of the trend. Dr. Kantha Shelke analyzes the trend.

Dr. Kantha Shelke
Health as Status Symbol
April 2016
The motivation to become fit and healthier is greater than ever before. In fact, wellness is becoming a status symbol.
Consumers know how one lives and how one eats can influence one’s health and quality of life. The result is an unprecedented demand for health and fitness-promoting attributes in practically every CPG sector ranging from foods, supplements, drugs, cosmetics, and personal care to even pet foods.
Coaches, nutritionists, chefs and fitness and medical professionals are engaged to support manufacturers and customers in making their products more appealing to the fitness-conscious. Snacks can go from ‘forbidden’ to ‘recommended’ just with the addition of lentils, beans, purple corn, or any vegetable, for that matter. Snacking is okay if fiber and vitamins and other nutrients are involved, for humans and pets.
Health is becoming table stakes in many categories. Replacing ‘no high-fructose corn syrup’, ‘no trans fats’, and ‘no sugar added’ with assertions of healthier ingredients attracts consumers who are willing to pay for higher-quality products and in fact, demand them. 
The prioritization of physical and mental health is a phenomenon that is creeping into all aspects of consumer life and experience. Shampoos should not only clean but also awaken and clarify focus. The ingredient list of body care product sounds more like a salad recipe with fruit juices, sea salt, fair trade honey, bananas, and jasmine as signatures of tranquility, and oregano, ginger and lime for alertness and other time-proven therapeutic effects.
Beverages should go beyond quenching thirst and aid weight-loss, soothe stomachs, cleanse livers, and possibly fight cancers. Coconut water, a healthier alternate to sodas and sweetened beverages, has created a demand for plant waters. The saps of maple and birch trees offer domestic, pure, sweet, high-electrolyte alternatives while artichoke, cactus, and aloe waters are valued as good for any demographic and especially infants, children, and the vulnerable.
Household products should clean, clear the air, and also help boost immunity and raise alertness. Lemons and vinegar are effective cleaners but with essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil promise a certain fresh, revitalizing blend of pick-me-ups that are straight from Mother Nature and therefore better for you and your family. 
Beauty products have to more than just camouflage; they must foster a healthy glow from within. Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, argan and marula oils, pomegranates, acerola, and even fermented soybeans known as ‘natto’ …are valued so much consumers will pay more just for their preventative effects.
The consumerization of health is a call for retailers and manufacturers to embed health benefits in all that they offer.
I am Dr. Kantha Shelke for PLMA Live!
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