NGA Show 2023: Health, Wellness and Sustainability Continue to Influence Shoppers

Two experts from NielsenIQ detailed the ongoing ways that these trends are shaping what shopper activity at the NGA Show 2023 in Las Vegas.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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NGA Show Jamie Clarke

According to experts from NielsenIQ who spoke at the National Grocers Association’s recent NGA Show 2023 in Las Vegas, although American consumers are “unsettled” by inflation, health, wellness and sustainability are still focuses for many.

Jamie Clarke, head of Retail, North America at NielsenIQ, and Sherry Frey, VP of Total Wellness at NielsenIQ, both shared their insights at the event’s keynote breakfast session on Feb. 27.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed is that even as we’re moving into this year, 39% of all U.S. consumers are very cautious about their economic outlook and their ability to spend,” said Clarke. “38% are actually struggling or rebounding… so if we think about that, that’s over 70% of our calculation that’s not in a good spot right now. And with inflation, they are all watching their spend. Really what they’re spending their money on is health. That is their focus.”

Clarke detailed that while inflation has led many consumers to cut costs, which has largely benefited private brands, consumers are looking for healthier alternatives, and purchasing more fresh produce, meat and more. According to NielsenIQ data, consumers are spending less on out-of-home dining and entertainment, as well as clothing, decor and more.

“They are really focusing on nourishing themselves and their families in their homes, and that’s where they are focusing their spend,” he said.

NGA Show Sherry Frey

In addition to health and wellness, Frey said that sustainability is still one of the biggest trends among consumers, with 90% of consumers telling NielsenIQ that sustainability is important to them.

“50% of consumers are saying it's very important to them, and if you think about it, retail is the space where we’ve seen early indicators of sustainability,” she said. “This is the space on a day-in and day-out basis that consumers are showing us their values. They’re buying their values. It’s certainly easier to show you support for sustainability on your grocery store visit than it is to re-wire your garage and buy an electric car.”

Frey pointed to the data firm’s latest research as evidence that sustainability shows no signs of slowing down as a want from consumers.

“There’s an escalating consumer demand: consumers are saying ‘we want more, we care more’ about sustainability,” she said. “They [consumers] tell us they’re hearing about it more in the media, so it’s become front of mind for them. They tell us that they’re experiencing the impacts of climate… 61% of consumers say that ‘the environment is having a negative effect on my health.’ We anticipate this to be one of the major trends to impact businesses dramatically over the next five years."