Health-Conscious Consumers: What Do They Want?
Savvy entrepreneurs understand that if there was ever a time to start a health-focused business, it’s now! Even before the pandemic put health and wellness top of mind, the trends were already skewing in that direction. Health-conscious consumers are looking for healthy food options for several reasons, including providing a myriad of health benefits and being ethically and environmentally sound. Assuming these needs are met, they are willing to pay accordingly, and discerning business owners are providing these options and profiting from the demand. This article will provide in-depth information for potential health food industry business owners to identify your target market so that you can reach your customers and meet their needs.
First, understand exactly what is meant by health-conscious consumers.
According to The National Institutes of Health, these are individuals who lead a “wellness-oriented” lifestyle and are concerned with nutrition, fitness, stress, and their environment. The N.I.H. goes on to say these consumers accept responsibility for their health and are excellent customers for health-related products and services.
One might argue that most of us strive to eat better, exercise more, and focus on living a longer, healthier life. Studies indicate that 93 percent of consumers want to eat healthy at least some of the time, with 63 percent trying to eat healthy most or all of the time. But those who are truly health-conscious have made a commitment to healthy living, especially when it comes to food.
Health-Conscious Target Market
The health-conscious target market is a fascinating, evolving demographic. The Food Industry Association tracks those consumer demographics and trends. A recent report indicates that the definition of “healthy” among American consumers is changing. The Power of Health and Well-Being in Food Retail 2020 report shows that in addition to health, this group wants convenience, affordability, clear labeling, food safety, taste, and transparency.
Nutrition experts say what used to be deemed as “health food,” is becoming more mainstream, which encourages healthy eating among all consumers. But for the sake of numbers and for your investment, there is great opportunity for profit. The health food industry is an 800-billion-dollar industry worldwide. And growing.
Here at SoBol, we are a healthy franchise. We studied the trends and acted accordingly, creating a business model for our growing acai bowls, green bowls, and fruit smoothie cafés. We opened our first store in 2012, and due to the popularity of healthy foods, within two years, we were franchising.
Here’s why. We give customers what they want. Consumers want transparency. They are educated about whole foods, they do their homework, and they research which foods are best to eat. They want to know what’s going in their bodies and where it came from. At SoBol, we get it. That’s why our fruits and vegetables are locally sourced from nearby farms whenever possible, providing freshly picked flavor. Or we use frozen fruit and vegetables picked at peak ripeness. Experts say that’s when they have the most nutrient density and pass along the most vitamins and minerals. Our customers trust us to provide the best whole food ingredients like acai, berries, pineapple, mango, kale, spinach, coconut, and honey, to name a few. We don’t use foods with hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
Our customers keep coming back because we are providing clean, fresh, whole food eating options that are also delicious. Trends indicate that while Americans are more health-conscious, they still demand good flavor.
Health-Conscious Consumer Needs and Solutions
Those seeking healthy food options do so for different reasons. For example, the pandemic turned us around in more ways than one. It got people thinking about their health. Focus was on foods that helped the immune system. At SoBol, we provide completely customizable bowls and smoothies that suit any dietary need or concern. There is another by-product of the pandemic forcing Americans to make healthier food choices, the pounds many packed on during the stay-at-home orders. It allowed many to focus on self-care again and appreciate the necessity of good nutrition and fitness to create a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Aside from COVID, the latest food trends show Gen Zs and millennials are not as big into dairy as previous generations. At SoBol, we offer dairy alternatives like soy, coconut, and almond milk. For those with nut allergies, our homemade granola is available with or without nuts. Our oats are made with nut-free granola, chia seeds, and oat milk. For potential business owners, it is important to provide options for customers but to keep those choices appealing and wholesome.
The challenging part of being in the healthy food business is that there are blurred lines when it comes to your target audience. While Gen Z, the young consumers in their late teens and early 20s, certainly drive the trend for whole foods, organic, and clean foods. They are also environmentally and ethically aware of food sourcing. They look as much at where a food comes from as what it contains. They look at the bigger picture, like the well-being of the planet and the future.
Looking at other demographics, like millennials, the focus is on the benefits of food like weight loss, energy, digestive health, and heart health. They are looking at food sources like fiber, whole grains, plant-sourced protein, and probiotics to achieve those results.
SoBol targets these age groups and dietary needs, but we also see customers from the baby boomer generation. Recent studies mirror what we see in our stores, which is the aging population seeking foods to keep them feeling young and vital and to prevent many age-related health issues. That’s why we see grandparents, children, and grandchildren enjoying our bowls and smoothies.
Health-conscious consumers are astute. If you find them entering a SoBol to eat a healthy bowl or smoothie, they are most likely also enjoying walks, runs, fitness, and going to the gym. It is not just food consumption, it’s a lifestyle.
Never before have we seen consumers as connected to food sourcing, safety, and environmental awareness about food consumption. As business owners, we must be able to intelligently share information with our customers about where their food is coming from.
Healthy Foods, Healthy Profits
So how do you turn all this information about health-conscious consumers into a business opportunity for you? We’ve been doing it successfully for years. At SoBol, we keep things very transparent. We provide fresh ingredients and a customizable menu to please the palate and the dietary needs of our customers. We provide healthy choices from local growers. We have a good quality product that we’re proud of, and we keep our message simple. That’s the key to succeeding with a health-focused business. Put the product out there that allows your customer to make a healthy food choice. We believe that eating healthier alternatives should never be a chore.
Based on consumer demand, SoBol has grown quickly, with a proven business model. We now have 51 locations nationally with nearly $600,000 in average store revenue. We have a successful guide in place for our franchisees to followwith industry experts providing the highest quality training to all our partners.
If this healthy franchise opportunity appeals to you, sign up for more information about becoming a member of the SoBol family.