Inclusion and affordability -the two big challenges the industry needs to overcome
In 2020, Covid changed the world because of its great social levelling impact. Hundreds of millions, regardless of status or health, were locked down and instead fully embracing online communities. All at once, hundreds of millions had equal access to these new niche communities. We all fought the coronavirus together and, as a result, the relative ease of exposing age-old social inequalities, such as unequal access to adequate healthcare and food sources, emerged amongst our renewed moral imperatives.
Each year it becomes cheaper and easier for consumers to access the internet and leverage the total computing power of billion-dollar platforms and venture investment. This upward curve also proves to be a powerful force for social change and improving universal access to basic resources such as food, water and health. All these have depended on technology to scale globally. In particular, mobile technologies have spawned a massive digital health consumer revolution. For example, remote monitoring apps, digital outpatient care, and AI-powered self-testing have been proven to play a pivotal role in improving social health. However, still, 40% of the world's population does not have access to the internet.
In the personalized nutrition and health sector, the effects of the pandemic have only accelerated and exposed these inequalities not only in tech but also in science observed as a lack of diversity in nutrition studies. Data that surfaced during the pandemic indicated the growing dilemma of the working poor, resulting in a huge surge in families who needed food assistance and are at risk of food security.
In addition, it highlighted the dire state of people living in food deserts with limited access to fresh produce or that had to travel at least 10 miles to their nearest grocery store, where low-quality and nutrient-poor foods are affordable and available.
Armed with data, knowledge, and the choke of rising food prices, consumers are voting with their wallets and investors are raising the bar. Health and affordability are finally on the agenda.
Just recently @Tesco vowed to boost sales of its healthy products to 65% by 2025 (it is currently 58%) following investor pressure around the obesity epidemic.
Only in France, a law implemented in 2016, prevents retailers from throwing away out-of date or misshapen foods. Instead, retailers have to give it away to charities and food banks.
The metric that consumers will measure brands by, is not the beauty of their marketing or their speedy response on social media, but by the real social impact, brands can have by starting with inclusion and affordability.
We expect this trend to grow in the next few months as brands will have to do more.
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