Holistic consumerism

ariel nepomuceno_1Health is wealth. And by all economic indications, it is just rightly so.

I intend to write on this crucial topic amid the nerve- racking politics nowadays. Hopefully, to help remind us of one of the most important things that we should always care for. Besides, businesses must be aware of the encouraging numbers when it comes to health as an industry.

The Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization has defined health as “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The definition has not been amended since 1948.

Fast-forward to now, man’s quest for health and wellness have been pursued without letup by both public and private sectors. Not surprisingly, since health and wellness are integral to a progressive and sustainable future. As Winston Churchill puts it, “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

Health and wellness have their own fads. For 2016, Alicia Bhagat of the Huffington Post named five health-and-wellness trends that resonate most to people of various demographics. These include: New minimalism “whereby consumers take more time to purchase fewer goods of a higher quality and [stay] more organized overall”; back to basic food whereby “more and more consumers simply want to make healthier food choices in the long term”; clean labeling whereby “consumers are much more aware of ‘negative’ or perceived harmful chemicals and additives in products”; thriving microbiome whereby “more people are now aware of the importance of bacteria that lives on and within the human body… much of the bacteria within us is linked to healthy, functional systems”; and holistic consumerism whereby “consumers want products that make them feel good mind, body and soul.”

Holistic consumerism. This is one of the major shifts that have been noted in the health and wellness category. Aside from simple exercise and nutrition, mental health is also thrown into the mix, which accounts for positivity, mindfulness, relaxation and self-care.

Global wellness industry

Because of humanity’s ever-increasing propensity to consume that which will make people holistically well, the global wellness industry is said to be a $3.4-trillion market, or 3.4 times larger than the worldwide pharmaceutical industry. This is according to a research done by SRI International, an American research institute. The study was commissioned by the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower wellness worldwide by educating the public and private sectors about preventative health and wellness.

The January 2016 study named the following 10 key sectors that comprise the global wellness economy: Beauty & Antiaging ($1.026 trillion); Healthy Eating/Nutrition/Weight Loss ($574 billion); Wellness Tourism ($494 billion); Fitness & Mind/Body ($446.4 billion); Preventative/Personalized Health ($433 billion); Complementary/Alternative Medicine ($187 billion); Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate ($100 billion); Spa Industry ($94 billion); Thermal/Mineral Springs ($50 billion); and Workplace Wellness ($41 billion). It also noted that the figures may not add up due to overlap in some of the identified sectors.

At the center of this multitrillion- dollar economy still rests humanity’s primeval quest to be well.

Healthy attributes Filipino consumers look for Nielsen’s recently released Global Health and Wellness Survey has shown the Filipino consumers’ psyche when it comes to products that they prefer, consume,
or patronize.

Filipino respondents basically consider beneficial ingredients as important. By beneficial ingredients, they mean foods that are vitamin fortified (64 percent); calcium fortified (60 percent); minerals fortified (60 percent); and micronutrient fortified (53 percent). Aside from beneficial ingredients, they also value functional foods or those that provide benefits that can either reduce their risk of disease and/or promote good health. These include foods that are fiber-rich (63 percent), protein-rich (52 percent) and whole grain
(45 percent).

Interestingly, Filipino consumers are also going back to the basics when it comes to their food choice. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they prefer foods that are made from vegetables/fruits; 60 percent said they like foods that are all natural; 45 percent preferred foods without genetically modified organisms; 49 percent approved of foods without artificial colors; and 48 percent manifested that flavors are important to them.

When it comes to environmental and socioeconomic factors that affect their purchase decision, 42 percent said local herbs/ingredients are very desirable and 36 percent thought ingredients must be sustainably sourced.

Locally grown natural products

The Philippines is a treasure trove of organically grown plants and herbs that can make a dent in the global wellness market. One of these is our malunggay, or known worldwide as moringa oliefera.

While malunggay is a common backyard tree for us, elsewhere around the globe, it is scientifically touted as one of the most generous and versatile plants. Almost all of its parts may be turned into a number of valuable products for a variety of purposes. Aside from its high-nutritional value, it can also be used for industrial, cosmetic, therapeutic and nutritional products.

Locally, for example, out in the drugstores today is the Life Oil food supplement. The first and only pure malunggay oil extract in a capsule, it conveniently captures in a gel the natural nutrients of malunggay, such as vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, phytochemicals, and living chlorophyll. Each soft gel is equivalent to half a kilo of fresh malunggay leaves! Thus, it essentially delivers what health-and-wellness consumers are looking for. Even doctors are surprisingly recommending this to their patients who look for a natural health ally against sickness.

I have always been a firm believer and advocate of locally grown natural products. Methinks, it goes with our cultural grain as Filipinos to honor what the land yields for us. Whether for food, healing, or wellness, nature still nurtures us best. To me, this pretty sums up what holistic consumerism is all about, as well.

Where the consumer goes, the market goes. With the renewed fondness of buyers for locally grown, beneficial and functional natural products, I look forward to the day when ingenious Filipino products get to breakthrough and capture the fancy of the global wellness market.


For comments and suggestions arielnepo.businessmirror@gmail.com



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