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Changing Consumption Habits of Consumers and the Way Forward
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The study aims to analyse the emerging Health & Wellness (H&W) Food & Beverage (F&B) market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC consumer in general and consumers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consumers, in particular, are changing the way they consume food and the region has seen a slow but steady shift towards a healthier lifestyle. Governments in the region have taken positive steps in this direction with the implementation of excise taxes such as the sugar tax in the UAE. These moves are heavily influenced by the rising economic burden of the lifestyle disorders which has made the region amongst the unhealthiest in the world. While governments and consumers are sharing the responsibility to restrict unhealthy food and consumer healthier foods, it is up to the thriving F&B industry in the region to contribute in equal measures by moves such as reformulation, H&W focused R&D, healthier product variants, etc.
The study highlights the current state of H&W in the GCC in general and the UAE and the KSA, in particular. The GCC has seen a recent upsurge in incidences of lifestyle disorders like cardiovascular, bone, and joint disorders as well as diseases such as diabesity (diabetes + obesity) which is majorly attributed to the unhealthy food and lifestyle habits. However, some healthy trends are being led by millennials in the region who are health and food aware and place high importance on the H&W quotient of food. The demographic change in the region which has caused an increase in the millennial population has therefore made a formerly niche segment of F&B grow at a fast rate. This growth is of importance to existing as well as new F&B companies trying to take advantage of this change in food consumption patterns in the region. H&W foods have crossed the “fad” stage and entered into the realm of food needs. While global giants have adopted a wait and watch stance to see the potential of the market, regional players including the food services sector have clear cut strategies mapped out to respond to the growing demands of the consumer base which is more aware, more connected, and more concerned regarding the impact of food on health. We expect the next 5 years to be critical, with the H&W F&B market becoming more mainstream due to more support from health-focused government policies, coupled with rising consumer awareness influenced by social media and global connectivity.
Author: Satvik jaitly
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