The availability of healthy foods is still lower than ideal for lower-income consumers.
The necessity of health

Access to fresh and healthy food for lower-income consumers is a major limiting factor on quality of life. Not only is it often more expensive to buy food that is nutritious, but the existence of food deserts — places without easy access to stores selling healthy food options — continues to be an issue globally.

The need for manufacturers to develop inexpensive but healthy food options is great, with 638.3 million people globally being classified as low-income as of 2015, according to data from the World Bank. Some food companies are seeing the opportunity here, with a 25% increase of food and drink launches with economy claims between September 2010 to August 2011 and September 2015 to August 2016. In addition, “premium” was the fastest-growing claim attached to these cheaper releases, offering increased value at a lower price point.

Unfortunately, not all the trends are positive in this arena, and some healthy foods are becoming harder to attain for low-income shoppers. In China, 51% of adults aged 20 to 49 with low income said that they are spending more on healthy food than they were in the previous six-month period. This contrasts with 62% of the same age demographic with a higher household income. Sixty-nine per cent of Canadians earning less than C$25,000 for their household claimed that eating healthily was a source of pride, contrasted with 82% with a household income of C$100,000 or greater.

Overall, consumers are becoming more educated regarding the importance of a healthy diet. Though some progress is being made to meet lower-income shoppers where they are, there is still a lot of potential for companies worldwide to meet consumer need for products that marry nutrition and affordability.

A more in-depth look at Mintel’s reporting can be found at