How Businesses Can Leverage Health Conscious Consumer Behavior

January 18, 2022


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As market researchers, we know a thing or two about helping brands connect with their target audience. Through custom research projects with our own market research online communities, we learn how people navigate through choices so we can provide vital insights for our clients.
For many businesses, tapping into new and emerging markets is key to driving both strategy and business. Because the health and wellness market has had a meteoric trajectory and is now valued at nearly $4 trillion, learning how to attract these customers and understanding their unique consumer behavior is essential for many businesses.

Who is the Health Conscious Consumer?

In response to the growing market category, 360 Market Reach (now Leger) identified 3 unique consumer personas within the health and wellness market whose consumer behavior helps dictate their decision making. While each of those market segments are worth individual analysis, and we’ll get into that a bit more later, understanding what we mean by the health conscious consumer is equally important.

Many businesses consider the health and wellness market to be made up of individuals at the end of their journey, meaning they are already eating “clean,” buying organic products and/or healthy foods, and consistently reading labels on processed foods and other products to ensure they meet the health conscious standards they have set for themselves. However, as our research indicates, the health and wellness marketplace reflects a wide variety of consumer behaviors across a person’s individual journey to health and wellness.

Given that information, health and wellness consumers include anyone who is interested  in products, food, or personal care items, that offer not only health benefits but also reflect their concerns for their overall health and environmental health as well. Further, their interest in products often includes ethical products and methods of production.

Why Companies Should Seek Out Health Conscious Consumers

In very simple terms, the health and wellness market is huge. In fact, most retailers are counting on the continued growth of this market to drive sales. Food retailers also see products catering to consumer health and wellness as a primary growth factor moving forward.

Further, when it comes to a potentially $4 trillion dollar market, there’s a piece of the pie for most retailers, products, and brands if they understand the consumer behaviors that drive these individuals and if they can deliver the products and messaging that speak to them.

What is Health-Conscious Consumer Behavior?

When we think health-conscious, we likely have a vision in our minds of who this health-conscious consumer is and what consumer behaviors help identify them. Research reveals these individuals cover a wide spectrum of consumers from those who view health and wellness as fundamental part of their identity to those who recognize and desire healthier choices but have not fully committed to those products, brands, or services.

To meet those goals, health-conscious consumers are constantly evaluating products, conducting research, and re-evaluating the way stores, products, and brands are meeting their needs.

young white man shops in store aisle for health and wellness products
4 Tips for Companies to Leverage Health Conscious Consumer Behavior

In our research, we not only looked at specific segments of healthy consumers, but we also evaluated their consumer behaviors from a holistic perspective to achieve a more robust picture of the best way for brands to connect to them as a whole. A few things we’ve learned over the years:

There is a Steep Learning Curve for Newbies

The path to purchasing healthy, all-natural, and organic products is paved with vague information and difficult to navigate. When a health-conscious consumer first decides they want to purchase these types of products, it can be a long, confusing journey to get the information they need to make good decisions. Due to loose product and packaging regulations, many marketing claims initially sound healthy but, in reality, are not. It can take quite some time for these consumers to educate themselves and get the correct information they need to begin their healthy journey. Health-conscious consumers appreciate brands that provide clear information in their claims and are authentic and genuine about what their products offer.

The Most Important Healthy Ingredients are the Ones Left Out

When brands develop claims and packaging, they need to communicate their product’s benefits first and foremost. However, health-conscious consumers are primarily looking at what is NOT included rather than what’s been added. Particularly, those early in their wellness journey are looking for claims such as “fragrance-free,” “non-GMO,” or “Paraben-free” as these are easy for consumers to understand. These products eliminate ingredients health-conscious consumers  have read about as being harmful. Once consumers are deep into their health-focused journey and find it easier to navigate claims, then they turn to products that provide benefits from particular ingredients. Understanding this important distinction and evolution in consumer behavior is vital as your brand evolves and targets consumers in the natural/organic space.

Health Conscious Consumers Still Indulge

Health-conscious consumers place high importance on all-natural healthy foods and organic products; they want what they put into/on their bodies to be good for them and the world around them. However, this doesn’t mean they’re exempt from cravings for sweet or salty treats. There are occasions where everyone wants to feel free to eat/use products that make them feel good. Indulging and having special treats is also an important part of a healthy consumer’s life. The healthy and organic market has room to offer delicious, indulgent treats that are viewed as being high-quality and pure.

Understanding that health-conscious consumer behavior includes the occasional indulgence is, therefore, an option for product development as brands look at their product lines and strategies for growth.

Health Conscious Consumers are not Healthy Across the Board

In our research over the years, we’ve found that when a consumer is healthy in one category it does not necessarily mean they are health-conscious across all categories. For example, they may be very passionate about eating organic foods such as meats, veggies, and fruit, but they are not worried about their lotions and makeup being natural. Lack of education or knowledge in particular categories, price, or brand availability are some of the reasons those choices are made. The good news for brands is that the number of categories where consumers look for natural/health-focused options is increasing every day across food, personal care, child products, lifestyle, and other categories.

If tapping into the health and wellness market is part of your plan, and successfully marketing to the health-conscious consumer a goal, then understanding their consumer behavior is essential. Not only will you find our current research and insights valuable, but a partnership with 360 Market Reach means we can tailor our research to get the answers you need to reach your objectives in this market.

For greater insight into health-conscious consumers, reach out to us today.


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