“Wellness industry products and services have perhaps the strongest legs of any product or service, as people immediately notice when someone has a wellness experience and are anxious to duplicate the results.”
— Paul Zane Pilzer, author of The Wellness Revolution
Health and wellness has been one of the strongest and most recession resistant areas of the economy. There are signs of this all around. Growing numbers of consumers are seeking out alternative health practitioners who emphasize prevention rather than treatment of disease, led by the baby boomer generation, but now closely followed by younger generations too.
Increasing awareness of the effects of toxic chemicals in agribusiness as well as concerns about the use of hormones, antibiotics and general inhumane practices of raising livestock has expanded to the market for organic foods. Organic products, which have been raised without the use of chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides, hormones and antibiotics has been a growth area in agriculture.
Mr. Pilzer predicted that much of the growth would occur due to individuals who wanted to emphasize disease prevention and health maintenance by changing their diet to more plant-based foods, including soy based products, such as tofu and soy milk which are now found in most grocery stores, but which were less widely available a dozen years ago.
He said, “Here is how I define wellness: wellness is money you spend to make you feel healthier, even if you are not ‘sick’ by any standard medical terms.”
As consumers seek healthier alternatives, organic farming has morphed from the fringes of agricultural producers to main stream, as organic produce, dairy and other products are now available even in chain grocers such as Wal-Mart. Along with that is the increasing number of farmers markets where shoppers are able to buy locally produced food items ranging from flower, herbs, fruits and vegetables, honey, dairy, meat, poultry, and even baked goods directly from the producers.
Fitness and exercise venues are also areas that continue to grow though somewhat hampered by the recession when spending for monthly membership fees slowed. Yoga, martial arts, jazzercise, health clubs, and other programs remain popular as people realize the value of physical activity for health and well-being.
These health trends are the result of ever-increasing numbers of people who desire to take more control over their personal health and well being, by seeking more choices both in their diet and their options for physical fitness as well.