One in two Thais are overweight and aware of it, but overweight status not necessarily reflect their health perception

Food and Healthcare Press Releases Thursday April 4, 2019 18:33
Bangkok--4 Apr--Nielsen

Consumers in Thailand choose healthier 'Food' or 'Beverage' over exercise and this trend has not changed over three years, according to a new report released by Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company.

The Nielsen report on Health and Wellness status in Thailand, uncovers Thai consumer's understanding and perception of health and wellness, current behavior and future trends, and the insights on healthy 1. Food, 2. Beverage, 3. Supplements, 4. Exercise/ activities, 5. Usage of fitness apps and gadgets.

Healthy lifestyle is gaining its popularity in Thailand as consumers are becoming more conscious about the importance of health and wellness. The majority of Thai consumers says that they participating in at least one of the five activities listed above promoting health and wellness. While >90% of consumers say that they consume healthy beverage regularly and >80% consume healthy food/snack regularly, consumption of vitamins/minerals/other supplements, exercise/play sports and usage of smart devices to monitor fitness are much lower than above.

This implies that Health and Wellness trend open a tremendous opportunity to health-related businesses. There is room to drive both penetration & frequency by continuous education & communication across all age groups.

Key trends of health and wellness include:
Prevention is the key trigger for healthier choice

Thai consumers are actively making healthier dietary choices with prevention in mind, be it for food & beverages or supplementary (See chart 1). However, food and beverages are also more driven by diet-related or current health issue such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are expected to account for 73% of deaths globally by 2020, up from roughly 60% in 2001.

Dietary preferences: Greens and grains, high nutritional value and great taste

When asked about consumer's top of mind on healthy food and snack, most people pick greens/salad/clean food (34%) and grains/nuts/wheat-based food (28%). The most common factor impacting the choice of healthy food and snack is high in nutritional value. Great taste and easy availability are also important selection criteria (See chart 2). For healthy beverages, functional drinks and vegetable/fruit/herb juices are Thai consumer's top of mind.

The opportunity to drive more supplementary consumption

Health and Wellness report revealed fundamental reasons in taking supplements which include filling in the nutrition that is lacking from daily food consumption and preventing from illness. For some, additional benefits are expected. The report also found out that within the key vitamins and minerals, the consumption frequency is at least 12 times per month. Vitamin C, Calcium and Multi-Vitamins are the top three supplementary with the highest usage and high frequency; the regular usage also corresponding to the level of awareness which also ranks among the top three. Other than these top three, there are opportunities for other vitamins and minerals that have room to grow.

TV Program and professionals crowned the most credible sources of health information

TV Program and professionals like doctors/nurses rank are the top 2 credible source when consumers seek for health information. While most people get information from the TV program, word-of-mouth and social media also play a significant role where articles on the internet and Facebook and YouTube are popular sources of information (See Chart3). Only 1 in 4 likely seek information on packaging as a source. There is an opportunity for manufacturers to increase more touch-points and drive consumer awareness of product labels and relevant websites.

The report also reveals that Thai consumers have a relatively high awareness of specific terms relating to healthy food/beverage, but their knowledge of its benefits is limited. For example, consumers have a high level of awareness about the term 'all-natural ingredients,' 'High in fiber and/or enriched with fiber' and 'High in protein and/or with protein,' but only about a quarter agree that they are well knowledgeable of its benefits. This shows that there are opportunities to reach out to consumers via the right channels and educate the consumers about the benefits in simple terms to generate consumers' demand.

"With the change in macro factors, be it aging population, environmental issues, urbanization, or higher penetration of internet and mobile adoption, we can see that consumers' needs and behavior become more complex with massive digital and social engagement influencing their decision making. Consumers are becoming more discerning of their product choices, especially when it comes to healthy offerings. While tracking the changes that consumers are making in their lives and shopping carts, manufacturers need to find the right value proposition and choose the credible source of information to promote healthy products and services benefits which will help drive meaningful growth." Said Viraj Juthani, Executive Director, Consumer Insights Lead, Nielsen Thailand.

ABOUT NIELSENNielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what's happening now, what's happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world's population. For more information, visit

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