Wellness to drive 2020s food industry

The 2020s are likely to be a decade where health and wellness dominates the food system, driving change across the entire supply chain.

That was the message from KPMG senior manager Emma Wheeler in KPMG's Agribusiness Agenda which was released this week.

A growing focus on food-as-medicine was driving massive change within the agri-food industry, Ms Wheeler said.

Traditional big food companies, agricultural producers, pharmaceutical businesses and start-ups were all being attracted to opportunities in food for health and wellness purposes.

For agri-food companies, that meant a shift away from commodity models where producers decided what to produce and what would be offered to consumers, towards the creation of highly specialised and enabled food that was designed with specific nutritional profiles.

As consumers became more educated about what they ate and attentive to the impact that food and lifestyle had on health, that was resulting in a health and wellness trend sweeping across parts of the community.

That trend was shaping an evolution of not just food products, but the way in which food was grown, consumed and marketed. The health and wellness food market was valued at $US769billion $1170billion) for 2019, Ms Wheeler said.

KPMG's view was that consumer focus on the impact that food had on health was still nascent and the trend would accelerate exponentially in the coming decade.

"As a result, we consider it is likely that the 2020s will be a decade where health and wellness dominates the food system.''

As health and wellness increasingly became a driving factor for consumer purchasing choices, all those in the agri-food ecosystem must consider product attributes and adjust systems and formulations accordingly to position themselves for that decade.

Health researchers had long been aware of the far-reaching consequences of poor diet and lifestyle, she said.

The rapid expansion of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was due largely to lifestyle-related illnesses, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Many consumers had become aware of the strong link between diet and health and were now seeking options that supported their personal health requirements and provided broad-spectrum nutritional density.

Many of the risk factors associated with NCDs could be mitigated with dietary behavioural changes.

At a broader level, consumers were increasingly turning to food - rather than a pill - as a longer-term health solution.

"This has spawned a growing market for food-as-medicine,'' Ms Wheeler said.

Agri-technology was helping lead the food-as-medicine movement in various ways, she said.

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