Kiwi millennials are seeking healthier lifestyles, and their desire for change is affecting supermarket stock. The young Kiwis are moving towards wellness inspired purchasing with a focus on health and sustainability, affected by concerns about animal welfare, sustainability and environmental drivers, in addition to their own health and diets. This shift in focus for consumers has influenced supermarkets with Countdown having to implement health and wellness sections in 140 of their stores to meet this new megatrend.

Countdown’s dietician, Deb Sue, speaks of the other necessary changes Countdown has made in the wake of these trends. “Customers are telling us that they see price as one of the biggest barriers to eating healthily. We’re focused on making sure that choosing health products doesn’t have to be expensive.” This has meant registering up to 100 featured products from their health food range in their ‘low price everyday’ program. “Countdown is helping to make these products easily available and affordable, not just a fad diet from a celebrity chef, “reiterates Deb Sue.

In addition to the new health and wellness sections, the impact of this trend can be seen in the existing departments, such as alcohol and butchery. “You only have to look at Kiwi’s diets 20 or 30 years ago, where meat and three veg was the norm to see how much has changed.  While still popular, meat is no longer the only protein on our plates. Lamb consumption is down 70 percent since 1990 and our customers are actively searching out alternatives,” said Sue.

The flexitarian trend has had significant influence over this area, with supermarket fridges packed with meat alternatives such as tofu, falafel and dairy free products. “Our research shows they are demanding innovation and new product development at a rapid rate, be it no or low-alcohol beverages because they have a greater focus on their personal health than perhaps their parents or grandparents did, or new products that support a flexitarian or vegan diet, superfood powders, fermented foods, the surge towards healthier snacks, and a rapidly developing trend around collagen proteins.”

Millennials are looking for new holistic approaches to their own wellbeing, and supermarkets are moving in support of this trend. Last year Countdown committed to a range of health and nutrition targets to encourage healthy choices for their customers, and at the end of October 2017, 65 percent of their private labels had undergone a nutritional review, including saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Deb Sue articulates that the research undertake by Countdown shows that this consumer trend isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon.