Retail Revolution: Enhancing the category

    How Natural Foods and Supplements Enhance Mental Health By: Olivier Felicio

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    sponsored by IHR Express

    Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging field exploring the connection between diet and mental health, offering promising business opportunities. This discipline suggests that certain natural foods and supplements can enhance mental health, presenting a new category for businesses to explore.

    Selling the Role of Diet in Mental Health

    It is well-known that diet plays a crucial role in overall health, but its impact on mental well-being is gaining attention. Mainstream researchers are now highlighting specific nutrients in foods that can influence brain function, mood, and cognitive performance.

    The biggest challenge for retailers and marketers is communicating to end users who see supplements as solutions for physical health issues but have not yet connected mental health’s direct impact on physical health.

    Many companies already offer a range of supplements, foods, and beverages designed to support mental health, including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and probiotics. Some even provide high-quality, research-backed supplements. However, they are targeting an already saturated market of health-educated consumers, which is not where industry growth will come from.

    Future Outlook

    With growing consumer interest and ongoing research supporting the link between diet and mental health, the future looks promising. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 62% of adults reported experiencing more stress than the previous year. This heightened awareness of mental health issues drives demand for natural solutions. With a market size valued at approximately USD 50.5 billion in 2022, encompassing a range of services and products, including therapy and counseling, psychiatric services, and digital mental health solutions, it is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7.2% from 2023 to 2030.

    The growth in this category is driven by:

    Increasing Awareness and Acceptance: Greater societal acceptance of mental health issues and the destigmatization of seeking help have significantly increased the demand for mental health services.

    Technological Advancements: Innovations in telehealth and digital therapy solutions have made mental health services more accessible, especially in remote areas.

    Policy and Insurance Support: Government initiatives and improved insurance coverage for mental health services have expanded access and affordability.

    Impact of COVID-19: The pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, increasing the incidence of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, thereby boosting the demand for related services.

    Despite this growth, understanding the connection between mental health and food supplementation remains uneven, and disparities based on geography, socioeconomic status, and insurance coverage do not help to bridge the gap.

    Bridging the Gap

    As a professional natural health marketer, my first inclination is “Content Marketing.” Reaching the mainstream, uneducated audience with the highest ROI and the lowest investment is what content marketing can achieve, as you don’t want to invest in educating existing buyers who have other educational priorities.

    Content marketing helps reach new end users by creating informative engagement directly related to the impact of mental health on physical well-being. It is crucial to partner with reputable vendors who only use branded ingredients. Access to scientifically-based content is needed to produce blog posts, videos, and social media updates that unaware consumers can trust through demonstrated evidence. For instance, content can showcase how specific nutrients and dietary choices influence mood, cognitive function, and overall physical health. This educational approach builds trust and credibility, differentiating you as a retailer and your finished product from competitors. The ROI is visible through increased website traffic, higher conversion rates, and enhanced customer loyalty, leading to sustained revenue growth and more cost-effective marketing compared to traditional methods. BTW, do yourself a favor, don’t jump to the obvious.

    Create in-store events, go to consumer shows—your main objective is to build an email list of customers interested in mental health and wellness outside of your current patrons. Use customer segmentation to tailor your messages to different audience segments based on their interests and purchase history to see what they have bought that can be redirected to specific products.

    Highlighting the Connection

    It goes without saying that basic practices like placing products in prominent locations within the store to draw attention—end caps, eye-level shelves, and high-traffic areas near the entrance—are ideal spots. Or even creating dedicated sections for mental health and wellness, clearly labeling them to make it easy for consumers to find the products. All these elements ARE NOT what will move the needle.

    Engaging Visual Merchandising

    Don’t forget that you did a great job creating a new group of consumers via digital marketing, and you are about to let them down with your in-store merchandising strategy as if we are still in the ’90s. Reflect for a moment to understand that you need to keep the same feeling online and in-store.

    Appealing Visuals: Use bright, attractive signage and packaging to capture the interest of consumers. Utilize colors and images that evoke feelings of calm, wellness, and positivity. Clear, concise messaging on signs and packaging should highlight the mental health benefits of the products, including their unique benefits. This consistency in visual messaging ensures that customers recognize the products from your digital outreach.

    Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive elements such as digital screens displaying educational videos or touch-screen kiosks where customers can learn more about the benefits of specific nutrients. Interactive elements can also include product samples or tasting stations, allowing customers to experience the products firsthand and make informed decisions. These in-store experiences should mirror the interactive and informative nature of your digital advertising campaigns.

    Align merchandising efforts with seasonal themes and health awareness campaigns. For example, create special displays for Mental Health Awareness Month or the back-to-school season, emphasizing the importance of mental health support during these times. Seasonal promotions and themed events can boost engagement and sales, building on the momentum generated by your digital advertising efforts.

    Entering the Nutritional Psychiatry Market

    Consider various business models and strategies beyond bringing people into your store:

    Direct-to-Consumer (DTC): Selling your products directly to consumers via your e-commerce platform can increase profit margins and allow for direct customer engagement straight from your digital marketing efforts.

    Subscription Services: Offering subscription-based models for supplements can ensure recurring revenue and build customer loyalty.

    Corporate Wellness Programs: Partnering with corporations to provide nutritional psychiatry products as part of employee wellness programs can tap into the growing corporate wellness market.

    In conclusion, the global dietary supplements market was valued at $140.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $230.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2021 to 2027 (Source: Grand View Research). Within this market, supplements aimed at nutritional psychiatry are gaining traction. Change your approach as those consumers are not yet in the category where your opportunity lies in how and with what you are connecting with them.

    sponsored by IHR Express

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