A marketer’s guide on how to fuel Australia’s growing appetite for healthier food

Bethan Hockey, research director at The Growth Distillery, explains how brands can tap into a market eager for foods that not only enhance physical health but also support wider life goals.

We are living in an era of self-improvement, with 94% of Australians striving to enhance various aspects of their lives. Yet, the ‘better for you’ food category remains narrowly focused on health, overlooking broader lifestyle aspirations such as emotional fulfilment, social connections, and personal achievements. This limited perspective opens a significant opportunity for brands willing to embrace a more expansive definition of ‘better.’ By broadening the scope of ‘better for you’ products beyond simply their nutritional benefits, brands can tap into a market eager for foods that not only enhance physical health but also support wider life goals.

There’s rich opportunities for food brands that are willing to embrace a more expansive meaning of ‘better for you’. This broadening definition creates space for more brands across more categories, but to truly deliver brands will need to broaden their messaging and products to truly resonate with today’s holistic aspirations of ‘better for you’.

For brands willing to embrace this challenge, the potential rewards are substantial. According to the latest research from The Growth Distillery where we Re-Frame Food, a remarkable 94% of Australians are actively working to improve themselves in various life domains—be it their relationships, work, personal lives, or health. On average, individuals focus on enhancing at least three different areas simultaneously.

Importantly, food is seen as a key component in supporting these aspirations. With 90% of Australians believing that food can significantly contribute across these diverse ‘better’ areas. So where are the new opportunities in better food? Today’s consumers are looking for food products that go beyond delivering health benefits; they also want foods that support their broader lifestyle goals, enhancing not only physical performance but also boosting mood, fostering social connections, providing safe challenges, and expressing their individuality.

To capitalise on this evolving consumer need, here are four strategic recommendations that can help brands re-frame and meet consumer’s growing aspirations for ‘better for you’ food.

1. Expand the narrative beyond physical health.

While health remains a priority, with 75% of Australians looking to improve their physical well-being, there’s a growing emphasis on mental health (63%) social connectivity (60%) and personal development (52%). Brands should broaden their product messaging beyond solely health benefits, emphasising how their products also contribute to emotional satisfaction, connections and personal achievement. For instance, highlight how your product benefits can enhance energy for daily tasks, contribute to a relaxing family meal, or offer a fun, shared cooking experience.

2. Break through the barrier to better.

Supporting people to overcome their barriers involves not only addressing their immediate needs but also providing tools and resources that foster long-term empowerment and self-sufficiency. More than half of Australians face challenges like inadequate mindset (58%) or insufficient skills (49%) that hinder their personal development. To address these obstacles, brands can extend their influence beyond traditional product offerings through engaging, educational, and supportive experiences.

3. Cultivate culinary communities and connections.

Food plays a pivotal role in connecting people, with 45% of Australians, especially younger and culturally diverse groups, valuing shared culinary experiences. To tap into this, brands can create platforms like virtual cook-alongs and recipe sharing communities that spotlight food’s capacity to strengthen social bonds. By developing campaigns that encourage consumers to share their culinary experiences and interact with the community, brands can further underscore the importance of food in fostering connections.

4. Ignite passion and prowess.

For 35% of Australians, food serves as a medium for personal expression or as a way to challenge themselves. It provides a fun and safe way to venture out of comfort zones by exploring new flavours and mastering new cooking techniques. Brands can support this journey by introducing consumers to a variety of global cuisines and unfamiliar ingredients, encouraging them to express their creativity. Offering resources and sharing innovative cooking methods can empower consumers, giving them the confidence to explore and share their unique culinary creations.

By broadening the definition of ‘better for you’ food, brands can align with evolving consumer expectations and open up new avenues for growth. This strategic expansion allows brands to not only meet current market demands but also position themselves as leaders in a future where food significantly enhances life quality. As food takes on roles beyond mere nutrition—supporting mental health, fostering connections, and fueling personal achievements—it becomes an integral part of a holistic lifestyle approach. This shift challenges brands to transform everyday meals into opportunities for health, happiness, and fulfilment.

For a detailed exploration of how ‘better for you’ food can transform consumer engagement and brand positioning, download the full Re-Frame Food report here.


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