Consumer health priorities have shifted since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck, and bakers and snack producers competing in the better-for-you (BFY) arena need to broaden their perspectives to identify new opportunities for growth.

“Health is very much a holistic matter for consumers,” Lynn Dornblaser, director on innovation and insight at Mintel, told attendees at a recent SNAC International webinar. “Being healthy is not just about losing weight or exercising or having the scales say a certain number, but rather, it’s about feeling strong and capable and able to take on whatever life is going to throw at you.”

She said consumers’ top priorities now involve strengthening their immune system, managing stress, improving their quality of sleep and eating more healthful foods. Managing weight, she added, is not as important as other priorities. However, issues such as sustainability and contributing to a healthy society are now part of the BFY mindset.

“Products and companies are really homing in and answering those needs that consumers have — personal health and health of the wider world,” Ms. Dornblaser observed.

Liz Rayo, senior vice president of marketing and innovation for Indianapolis-based CraftMark Bakery, suggested that BFY snacks and baked foods should be integrated into promoting an overall more healthful lifestyle.

“Products that promote wellness — clean label, natural, reduced sugar or salt, and the like — are even more important as consumers are more aware of maintaining their physical health since COVID,” Ms. Rayo told Baking & Snack recently. “There is also an opportunity to introduce foods that promote mental and emotional health.”

Today’s bakers and snack makers are now taking BFY to a better place.