Health – From protection to prevention

Consumer interest in health is not a new trend, of course – but attitudes have been changed significantly by the pandemic. As we have seen, COVID-19 has been the #1 consumer concern for the past two years, pushing all other health worries far down the list, cited by just 13% of respondents this year.

Last year’s Index explored how the pandemic increased consumer focus on food safety and hygiene, and there continues to be a strong sense that “being healthy is being safe”, felt by nearly two-thirds of respondents in this year’s research. Worries about food being hygienic and safe have eased a little, but still remain strong, cited by more than half (54% versus 59% in 2020). Concerns about food safety and hygiene are typically stronger in emerging markets, notably China and Nigeria.

But protection from infection on its own is not enough. The pandemic has brought home how fragile we are, and consumers are taking a more holistic, complementary approach to ensuring their wellbeing as a result. This includes a greater focus on mental health; using functional foods to boost the immune system and gut health; and taking a more proactive, personalised, preventative approach to health and nutrition, with a particular focus on natural foods.


Couple walking the woods

1. Personalised health

Consumers are transitioning away from a reactive approach to health and taking a more personalised approach to optimising their wellbeing.

Fruits on a plate

2. Functional care

Consumer interest in functional food and beverages has grown due to the pandemic, especially immunity-boosting solutions.

Girl performing yoga

3. Mental health in the spotlight

The pandemic has increased awareness of mental health, with nearly half of consumers believing that their mental wellbeing has been impacted.

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Tetra Pak Index 2021 explainer video