• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Brands’ bottom-line faces threat over increasing health-conscious eating

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There is obvious increasing consciousness in consumers’ eating and drinking habit. Some consumers are being careful of excess sugar in beverages because of diabetic implication. They are also mindful of cholesterol, additives and preservatives in food.

Recent media report has also quoted scientists as raising alarm that eating certain local processed meat delicacies “can significantly increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.”

The consumers are concerned on the increasing cases of cancer, diabetes, bad cholesterol in the body, which according to scientists, can stimulate extra cell growth in the lining of arteries, reducing their diameter or clog the arteries, including the coronary arteries feeding the heart.

Though some of these diseases come with age, but the youth consumers that some brands target are equally mindful of their health in the long run, as they become cautious in their food intake. As they increasingly become choosy and change their consumption taste, analysts fear that this would depress some brands bottom-line.

Ade Adefokan, a socio-economic analyst, believes that brand owners that would be affected as consumer become selective are those that push to the market one particular product that contains what consumers avoid. As they remain with single brands that contain what the large population of consumers avoid, their revenue would be affected.

He however is confused why researchers say one product is good and other researches disagree, saying “for instance, some say red wine is good for the heart, others say it is bad.”

Nkeiru Bartholomew, a nurse at Scan-Right Services, says “from my own perspective, I think sales are going down slowly because people are paying attention to what ingredients are in their food and also considering how their food is produced.”

As a result, health and wellness must be affecting purchasing decisions of some organisations. With what I have heard about tobacco destroying lungs, I can do anything within my powers to prevent my children and loved ones from venturing into smoking, so also, foods like minerals, fruit juice, ice cream and the likes are also included because of excessive sugar, flavour, cholesterol that might be harmful when taken in excess.

Amaka Alumona says she believes so many brands might be loosing profits because sales will be reducing by the day. People are being conscious of what they eat, they are running away from over processed food that contain heavy sweeteners and junks. Everyone want to stay healthy and fit, free from fat, free from diabetes, from cancer, obesity, heart diseases and so on, she says.

According to Akonte Ekine, CEO of Absolute PR, the brands financials will be affected in the long run by the shift in consumers taste, except they rejig their products, as said brands need to regenerate in line with consumer interest.

Seyi Adeoye, a director in Tnsrms, a leading research firm, agrees that consumers are becoming conscious in their eating habit, but the health consciousness is more pronounced among the elderly.

Adeoye, who does not see the much impact of the consumers’ eating consciousness on the brands’ bottom-line because Nigeria is a youthful population, says that however, companies are responding appropriately by producing products that will take care of those who are eating conscious. “Manufacturers are becoming proactive in responding to the consumer demand,” he says. In recent times, some organisations in the beverage drink business have started introducing low- and free-sugar drinks in an effort to satisfy customers’ demand. Consequently, organisations have to follow their customers’ mind, psychology, civilisation and every other need to stay in the market as some beverage brand owners are responding swiftly to the introduction of low- or free-drink content.

This newest trend has given birth to many sugar-free or low-sugar drinks in the market. A quick look at some beverage manufacturers in Nigeria reveals top malt and fruit drinks producing companies like Nigerian Breweries coming up with Amstel Malta low-sugar drink, Nigerian Bottling Company has Diet Coke, and Guinness Nigeria produces Malta Guinness with low-sugar content, while La Casera Company came up with Latina sugar-free drink.

Olabisi Folake, a medical practitioner, acknowledges that the development is coming at the right time as most Nigerians, especially the older folks, do not check their sugar level and forthrightly avoid drinks containing sugar, noting “due to the fact that people do not go for medical check-ups, they refuse to consume drinks containing sugar.”

Sugar drink avoidance is also associated with the recent growth in the diagnosis of people with diabetes and the prescription against their sugar intake.

Nnamdi Onah, a pharmacist at Emzor Pharmaceuticals, agrees that excess sugar in the body can expose individuals to diabetes, especially from 40 years, disclosing that sugar is a source of energy in the system, but “when it is taken, it is converted to glucose which provides energy in the organs and all part of the body.”

Similarly, Rosemary Ahaji, another medical practitioner with Agatha Hospital, affirms that there are negative effects of sugar.

To her, consumption of mechanically produced sugar used in producing drinks, bread, and cake is very dangerous, as they contain substances that can not be absorbed by the digestive system and as a result they eat up the walls of the bladder, straight to the urinary tract and end up in diabetes Miletus. Also, Sani Gbodebo, a medical practitioner, points out that the human body needs sugar for strength and that when excessive it has adverse effects. To him, “sugar has negative effect only when there are diseases.”

DANIEL OBI

Media Business Editor