But retailers need to be wary about simply repeating what they do year by year, because not every year is the same. This is because what is classified as healthy eating changes all the time.
Historically, dietary resolutions have been focused on consuming fewer calories, but in recent years the emphasis has shifted to eating more healthily rather than just eating less.
This distinction is not lost on many of the manufacturers. Bagged salad producer Florette, for instance, is in no doubt about the change. Martin Purdy, the company’s commercial and marketing director, says: “Rather than restrictive, calorie-controlled diets, consumers are making dietary lifestyle changes and moving more towards a varied and natural diet, in which Florette stockists are perfectly placed to benefit.
“More than a third of shoppers surveyed by IGD place an importance on eating more fruit and vegetables to lead a healthier lifestyle, with a further one in five looking to eat more fresh produce in particular.”
Purdy also argues that Florette’s brand name is important for retailers and he points to Lumina research which suggests that in top-up shops 63% of consumers look for known brands.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an obvious source of sales when shoppers are looking to buy healthier products, but drinks should not be overlooked.
Bottled water (see panel) routinely gets a New Year sales boost and most producers encourage retailers to take advantage, with many in 2023 pointing towards flavoured waters as a particular growth area.
Consumers also tend to turn more to vegetarian and vegan options in January, underlining a continuing trend for people to eat less meat and buy more vegetarian food because it is associated with a healthier overall lifestyle.
This clearly benefits some of the big-brand vegetarian names, such as Quorn, which says the reasons for more interest in its products include the pandemic, which encouraged people to think more about what they are eating in order to remain healthy.
That trend has been accelerated with the growing popularity of Veganuary in recent…