The word “wellness” is a buzzy term in the food industry, but what does it really mean? At NOSH Live Winter 2019 in Santa Monica, Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth; Neda Daneshzadeh, co-founder and partner at Prelude Growth Partners; and Colleen Wachob, co-founder and co-CEO of mindbodygreen, explored the world of the wellness consumer, noting authenticity, strong values and a sense of community among the top drivers for the wellness shopper.
For Purely Elizabeth’s core consumer, wellness is more of a “mindset” than a specific demographic, Stein said. Daneshzadeh, whose firm has invested in brands such as superfood brand company 8Greens, added that wellness consumers want to know the purpose and mission behind the brands they love, in order to support the companies that align with their values.
“That becomes a really critical part of their experience with the brand,” Daneshzadeh said.
To further tell a brand’s story, influencers can play a key role, Wachob noted. But brands should look beyond follower counts when choosing brand ambassadors — and instead find “domain experts.”
“I couldn’t care less how many followers someone has — I really care more about the authenticity [and] credentials that they’re bringing,” she said. “I think that’s something that’s sorely lacking in a lot of the wellness marketing right now.”
Additionally, products should catch new consumers via an accessible price point, rather than making too many claims about functionality, Stein said. Purely Elizabeth, she said, doesn’t focus on any one specific diet — but rather aims to straddle both fun and function, alongside great taste, to reach more consumers.
“It’s more subtle…we’re believing in the product,” she said.
Most importantly, the panelists stressed the importance of all brands, retailers and investors keeping this consumer top of mind.
“I think retailers realize this is where growth is coming from; this wellness consumer is an incredibly valuable consumer, and you’ve got this wave that’s going to come,” Daneshzadeh said. “We’re just at the very beginning of the power of this consumer, broadly defined.”