SOURCE: iModerate

iModerate

May 20, 2014 09:00 ET

Most People on a Path Towards a Healthier Lifestyle Are Looking to Brands for Guidance, Says New Healthy Living Study

iModerate Study Finds Healthiest People Are Savviest About Food, Exercise Gear; Opportunities for Brands to Reach Those Wanting to Improve Health/Fitness Abound

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - May 20, 2014) - Americans have been listening to the increasingly louder cries from health experts of the past few years and are trying harder than ever to adopt healthier lifestyles, opening more opportunities for brands to assist, says a new study from leading qualitative research firm iModerate. The Healthy Living study, released today, reveals that most consumers consider diet and exercise the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle, are looking even more closely at labels and brand reputation, and are becoming more savvy about what they eat and the exercise gear they purchase the healthier they become.

The study, which the company conducted to gain a deeper understanding into what a healthy lifestyle looks like for consumers today, examined numerous health and fitness topics. It started by segmenting respondents into three healthy lifestyle categories: "Starting Out," defined as those not happy with their lifestyle currently but who are making an effort to change (17% of total respondents); "On the Way," those making strides in a healthier lifestyle but who still have room for improvement (68%); and "Already Healthy," those who believe they have reached a pinnacle in achieving a healthy lifestyle (15%).

"The 'healthy lifestyle' category offers a lot of opportunities for brands," said Adam Rossow, Partner at iModerate. To start, they need to focus on the key factors of being functional and convenient, while also the right price to attract the most consumers. At the same time, marketers need to focus on transparency and education, coming alongside consumers as they start on their journey towards health and following them closely as they progress."

Consumers are more interested than ever in brands of food and workout/sports gear (including clothing and fitness trackers) that promote a healthy lifestyle. The study also demonstrates that, thanks to education from the media, friends, family and the medical community, consumers are savvier than ever about brands that adopt the "healthy" moniker, and are quicker to read labels and otherwise scrutinize the brand and product to make sure they ring true to their promises. Consumers identified five characteristics brands must meet in order for them to view the brand as truly healthy: functional, authentic, inspiring, convenient and price-friendly.

Even so, study respondents, particularly the "Starting Outs," indicate they are looking to be educated further about diet and exercise, and are open to switching loyalties to other brands if those brands come alongside them on their healthy lifestyle journey. A full 74% of that segment say "I wish I had more help in maintaining a healthy diet" and 94% admit "sometimes it's difficult to make the healthy choices I know I should."

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Medical issues is the most common reason cited for those kick-starting a healthy lifestyle regime, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes the most common conditions spurring change.
  • Of those in the "starting out" category, 45% rely on social media the most to get support for their healthy lifestyle goals.
  • As people gain confidence and get closer to the state of health they are looking for, they migrate to organic and natural food over packaged food that makes health claims, often preferring farmer's markets to specific brands. They visit specialty sporting goods stores to find higher performing gear and clothing.
  • But even as consumers' tastes and requirements change, they overwhelmingly say once they find something that works -- a brand they know, love and trust to help them reach their goals -- they stick with it.
  • People are looking for unbiased recommendations on food and exercise gear brands, starting with suggestions from friends/family (57%), reading trusted publications (45%), examining the fine print on packaging (41%) and reading or hearing testimonials from users (37%).

Typically conducting its studies qualitatively, Healthy Living was conducted as a combination quantitative/quantitative study of 502 consumers, followed by 65 conversations with individuals conducted in Q2 2014.

About iModerate
iModerate bridges the communication gap between companies and consumers through individual conversations, yielding decision-driving context that increases revenue, profitability and ROI. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Denver, CO, iModerate is known for its expertise in the American Consumer and for pioneering and championing the online one-on-one. With a proprietary cognitive framework, and 10 years of experience rooted in how individuals think and behave, iModerate helps organizations in a wide variety of sectors get past their data sets, establish customer intimacy and obtain real insight -- the kind that tells you why things are happening and what action to take. For more information, please visit www.imoderate.com.

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