New research uncovers five health-conscious consumer segments

Nutiani’s new research study uncovers five health-conscious consumer segments, as we ll as demand for sustainability and product information.

(Image: Ali Inay via Unsplash)

Nine in 10 consumers view health holistically and believe it is important to adopt a well-balanced diet1, but have different approaches to healthy eating. Brands looking to appeal to health-conscious consumers can draw on new segmentation data from Fonterra’s wellbeing nutrition brand, Nutiani, to offer more personalised solutions. 

Nutiani has partnered with Ipsos to survey 5,950 people across seven global markets2 on their perceptions and behaviours toward health and wellbeing, for the second volume of its Global State of Health and Wellbeing report. Based on respondents’ engagement, awareness, motivations and attitudes toward wellbeing and nutrition, the research reveals five distinct consumer segments: 

  • “Proactive Pursuers” make up the biggest proportion of global consumers. They adopt a scientific and highly disciplined approach towards food and are prepared to pay more for products they believe in.  
  • “Relaxed Cosmopolitans” are too busy to worry about diet and do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable to choose the right healthy foods, but try to consume natural, unprocessed foods. 
  • “Practical Worriers” are concerned about their physical and mental health, but focus on making manageable changes to their lifestyles and prefer to adopt a simple and traditional approach to eating healthy. 
  • “Activity Seekers” prefer to manage their health through physical activity and view nutrition as fuel for exercise.  
  • “Balanced Seekers” recognise there are factors beyond their control so take a practical and balanced approach to health to keep doing the things they enjoy.  

Common barriers and priorities in nutrition behaviours  

Although consumers are more informed than ever, four out of five segments do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about healthy foods to make the right choices, resulting in barriers to managing their nutrition. The remaining Proactive Pursuers are held back by conflicting information on available products.  

Incomplete and discrepancies in information are likely to have contributed to trust emerging as a significant concern across all segments, especially in relation to health claims and food safety. Findings also reinforced the need for brands to overcome common barriers to healthy eating such as taste, cost and convenience. 

In addition, consumers are increasingly seeking sustainably-sourced and produced products, believing the responsibility is on manufacturers to create environmentally friendly value chains. This expectation may also be contributing to most segments’ preference for natural and less-processed foods, which are known to have a lower environmental impact. 

Dan Luo, director of active living at Fonterra, said: “Although consumers are recognising the importance of nutrition to achieve holistic health, existing solutions are not adequately addressing gaps in trust and information as well as emerging sustainability preferences. The commonalities in these unmet needs offer opportunities for innovation and consumer education to encourage them to adopt healthy diets.”   

Tailored and targeted approach necessary  

The report also dives into individual markets, examining the impact of macro-environment factors such as cultural norms, reliance on social media and perceived challenges, on consumer attitudes and behaviours. 

Western markets tend to have a higher proportion of the Balanced Seeker segment, reflecting a more balanced approach to nutrition, health and wellbeing. On the flip side, Proactive Pursuers make up the largest proportion in South Korea and China, both of which have a long-standing culture of consuming medicinal foods for wellbeing.  

Charlotte Ortiz, global brand marketing manager of Nutiani, said: “We can see through this research that our target consumers are unified in taking a holistic approach to health, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The five segments not only have different motivations and barriers, but also turn to different sources for information — from social media and online reviews to endorsement by healthcare professionals. 

“There is a need for brands to develop tailored solutions with products and strategies that speak to consumers’ unique motivations while addressing the challenges they are facing,” she added. 


1 IPSOS Nutiani. (August 2021). Consumer Wellness Research

2 Survey conducted on May 2022 across Japan, Korea and China, France, Germany, the UK and US