—The pandemic brought mental well-being into focus, and it’s becoming a sticky behavior

Chicago, January 23, 2023 — The focus on health and wellness evolved throughout the pandemic as consumers began seeking coping mechanisms for their altered lifestyles. The consumer’s need for normalcy at the height of the pandemic was the entry for a mental and physical health focus, reports The NPD Group.*  Compared to the pre-pandemic period, more consumers say that the amount and quality of sleep, work-life balance, and managing stress are important factors contributing to their health.

Consumers are shifting their focus toward mental health in terms of managing mental and physical health. For example, consumers say that the top factor contributing to their overall mental health and well-being is the amount and quality of sleep they get. Managing stress levels and relationships with family/friends ranked second and third in the top mental factors contributing to health. According to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracker, physical exercise is the ultimate physical factor that consumers say contributes to their health, followed closely by food and beverage choices.

Most consumers consider themselves somewhat knowledgeable (43%), very knowledgeable (37%), or extremely knowledgeable (13%) when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. The remainder feels they are not very or not knowledgeable at all. Acquiring more knowledge about a healthy lifestyle and mental health helped sales of books on these subjects soar during the pandemic. According to NPD’s BookScan, which tracks physical and digital book sales in the U.S., print unit sales of health and fitness books focused on longevity increased by 150% over the last three years and 145% in the past year alone. Sales for print books focused on mental health have nearly tripled since 2019, growing 150% over the last three years and up 19% in 2022.

“Consumers are actively creating their own dietary and mental health programs. Through self-education and readily available products, they are choosing the best aspects of diets and lifestyles that work for them,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage analyst. “Food brands can play a role in helping consumers with their wellness goals by innovating and finding new ways for consumers to make better food choices that fill gaps in mental and physical health needs.”

*The NPD Group recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI®) to create a leading global technology, analytics, and data provider.   

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