Helping shoppers prioritise their New Year health aspirations

Date : 15 January 2021

Natasha Maynard

Nutrition & Scientific Affairs Manager

With the spotlight firmly on health (heightened by COVID-19) and nearly 9 in 10 shoppers (86%) saying they are actively trying to improve some part of their diet1, I explore some stand-out products and initiatives geared towards supporting shoppers to lead healthier lifestyles this January.


Dry January

A staggering 6.5 million people pledged to take on ‘Dry January’ this year (up from 3.9 million in 2020). This presents a significant opportunity for industry to drive engagement beyond January as 12% of UK adults looking to improve their diets are prioritising reducing alcohol1.

With stronger than ever momentum behind Dry January, a raft of new low and alcohol-free products hit the shelves to cater for those looking to cut down this month.

Gordon’s launched an alcohol-free version of its classic gin (Image source: Diageo GB).

Also coinciding with this campaign, Budweiser launched its #TeamZero initiative. The social movement aims to encourage consumers to make smart drinking choices and start 2021 as they mean to go on. Those taking part get access to exclusive discounts, merchandise and prizes, including tickets to England home games and signed England shirts.

Liverpool FC captain and England vice-captain Jordan Henderson joins Budweiser’s #TeamZero to help kick off 2021 with a successful Dry January (Image source: Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I).

A shift towards plant-based living

The trend for plant-based living and sustainable diets continues to grow in appeal and the movement is further fuelled by campaigns such as ‘Meat Free Monday’ and ‘Veganuary’. New plant-based products provide added appeal to both vegetarian and vegan consumers, as well as those looking to reduce their meat consumption. Of course, not all plant-based products claim to be ‘better for you’, but it’s suffice to say that those looking for a convenient plant-based option will have plenty to choose from this January.

Whilst motivations to reduce consumption of meat, dairy and other animal products vary, our Appetite for Change research reveals that 57% of British grocery shoppers were open to changing their diets to be healthier and more sustainable in 2020. We’re expecting this trend will continue to be among the fastest growing and a priority area for retailers and food service businesses alike.

Due to current restrictions I have visited fewer stores this January than I would usually, but I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of initiatives that I stumbled across online and caught my attention.

ASDA announced a partnership with vegan concept creator, Kbox Global to trial a vegan butcher counter ‘Veelicious’ at its store in Watford. Meat-free alternatives, such as mock lamb and vegan ‘black pudding’ are available with prices starting from 75p (Image source: ASDA).

Ways to be Well’ is a new initiative from the RA Group by Compass. The health and wellness programme, featuring plant-forward menus developed in collaboration with long-term partner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage, was created to support holistically support the physical and mental health of employees and guests in a post pandemic workplace or venue (Image source: Restaurant Associates).

Holistic health

Last year IGD explored how the pandemic is influencing health and wellness priorities in the UK. As health and wellness priorities continue to broaden this trend looks set to continue.

This January, Waitrose launched a new Holistic Living range that brings together a variety of health-focussed products, including new products to support gut health, to help people live a more balanced lifestyle.

Waitrose’s new Gut Health range is the UK’s first own label range to have a certified gut health claim (Image source: Waitrose & Partners).  

Joanne Lunn, Nutrition Manager at Waitrose says, “The range of products contain Bacillus coagulan, calcium and chicory inulin. These are all types of prebiotic which don’t get absorbed by our small intestine but instead reaches the large intestine and the bacteria found naturally in the gut ferment it.”

Balancing healthy eating with savvy shopping

And finally, it would go amiss not to mention savvy shopping. With many experiencing financial uncertainty heightened by the pandemic, shoppers look for further opportunities to save money on their food and groceries.

Balancing healthy eating with savvy shopping can be challenging, with many shoppers perceiving healthier diets to be more expensive – IGD’s Appetite for Change research revealed that 38% of consumers perceive healthier sustainable alternatives to be more expensive. Introducing shoppers to good value products and recipes could help shoppers achieve both a savvy shopping and healthy eating mission.

Sainsbury’s signposts affordable fruit and vegetable options in-store (Image source: IGD research – picture taken in Sainsbury’s Bury St Edmonds, January 2021)

If you’ve spotted a great initiative, head over to Twitter @igd_health and let us know. Visit for more health-focussed insights and free resources.

1 IGD Shopper Vista, Base: 1,000+ British grocery shoppers, October 2020