March 9, 2021

Health and Wellness in a COVID World

By Evan Hernstat, CPA, Supervisor, Accounting Services

Health and Wellness in a COVID World Food & Beverage

“Pandemic pounds.” It’s the phenomenon that has emerged in the year since the health crisis forced a lockdown and trapped us at home, tempting us to become couch potatoes with a good TV show and some munchies. The situation was exacerbated since gyms were closed, so the only way to stay in shape was to commit to regular physical exercise at home and to eat healthier.

To that end, some consumers are re-directing their spending toward healthier products. The push toward health-conscious food and beverages is something that is consistently prevalent. However, there is an uptick now more than ever, due to the current environment.

Products that used to sell as “low-fat” or “cholesterol-free” are becoming much more specific, trending to “organic,” “gluten free,” “natural,” “vegan,” or “plant-based.” In fact, according to the Good Food Institute, protein, dairy, and meat intake from plant-based sources increased in the U.S. in 2020 by as much as 28%. With dairy being a common allergen, plant-based milks and alternatives to dairy products have seen huge increases in sales. In 2020 alone, total sales were $2.4 billion according to a recent industry report. In total, plant-based food sales increased to more than $5 billion last year. People are becoming more aware of what they are putting in their bodies and it shows in the food industry trends.

Another option to combat the pandemic’s effect on weight is to change your eating plan. U.S. News and World Report ranked the best diet plans for 2021 and the Mediterranean Diet ranked at the top, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, fish, and healthy oils. More traditional weight loss programs, like Weight Watchers, also rank high, as they teach new ways to approach what you eat, rather than offer fads and quick fix promises.

In addition, protein powders have gained in popularity. Once popular only among gym-goers, the pandemic is powering powders as a rising trend, providing an easy and fast way for a meal. From a personal perspective, protein powder meal replacements helped me lose over 40 lbs. throughout the pandemic.

The food and beverage industry has had to innovate throughout the current crisis. Concentrating on the health and wellness efforts of your customers is another way to ensure that you are a trusted partner, which can help safeguard your survival and spur your success.