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Health and wellness is going mainstream and national marketers are taking notice. They have begun to research the health and wellness market, creating consumer profiles, including segmentation personas, that quantify consumer health aspirations and purchase behaviors.

Although the research instigates expedient marketing strategies by big manufacturers and retailers, local merchants can benefit by being aware of emerging trends in consumer behavior.

A 2014 study by Nielsen and the Natural Marketing Institute, Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective, identifies five consumer segments grouped by health attitudes and behavior:

Well Beings comprise 19 percent of the American population and serve as trend predictors, opinion leaders and key influencers on health and wellness topics. As the most health-proactive segment, they record the highest usage of many healthy foods and beverages. They demonstrate a concern for the environment and integrate many health modalities into their lifestyles.

Food Actives comprise 18 percent of the population and can be described as a “mainstream healthy group” – dedicated to health through healthy eating, managing weight and exercise based on a more traditional and balanced outlook toward health and wellness. While they want inherently healthy foods, that desire is offset by price sensitivity and late new product adoption.

Magic Bullets comprise 23 percent of the population and prefer to manage health with “medicine” rather than commit to a healthy lifestyle via foods/beverages. Reporting the heaviest reliance on both prescription drugs and supplements, these “conveniently healthy” consumers nevertheless express concern about and manage their weight. Magic Bullets tend to address developed health conditions reactively with a pill, rather than work to prevent them through diet, exercise and food.

Fence Sitters comprise 20 percent of the population and aspire to be healthy but admit to difficulty of juggling kids and the stresses of daily life. They tend to jump on the latest health kick without setting clear goals but look for guidance. This segment is a prime target for easy, convenient and healthy food solutions.

Eat, Drink & Be Merrys comprise 20 percent of the population and remain indifferent towards healthy eating or initiating most healthy lifestyle activities. They remain unconcerned about prevention and when given a choice, they value taste over health benefits when food shopping. Adding to their barriers, they are price sensitive.

The Health and Wellness in America report provides interesting insights into how consumers approach heath differently. Use it as a guide when planning marketing communications for your business.

> Download the Health and Wellness in America: The Consumer Perspective report.