Value Through Social Responsibility

Behind every purchasing decision is a value judgement. Whether consciously or subconsciously, consumers weigh up many different factors, often in a heartbeat:

  • Will this product deliver the health outcomes that I want?
  • Will this product be easy or convenient to use?
  • Will my purchase have positive or negative consequences for the environment?


And when we start to think ‘brand’ instead of just product, a whole raft of further considerations come into play:

  • Does the brand share my social responsibility values?
  • Does the brand follow the same moral compass as I do?
  • Does the brand have a personality that I recognize or aspire to?

The key to successful brand marketing is to understand and respond to the underlying values that drive consumers towards, or away from, your offering

Consumers are becoming more informed and discerning about their nutraceutical choices. They want more natural, organic, sustainable, pure or vegan products which are less processed and free from almost any food additives or impurities.1

Some consumers are including more plant-based options into their diet. While others may be looking to make an impact in terms of sustainability and believe that plant-based products and their production practices are more environmentally friendly.1

Some of the most favored characteristics amongst nutraceutical consumers are natural, sustainable, safe and – most importantly – with the promise of additional value. Successful products must be easy to consume while satisfying consumer desires.1 For example, 17% of consumers are ready to spend more on omega-3 to ensure convenience, palatability and use of sustainable sources.2

Factors such as natural, organic, sustainable and pure are becoming more than preferences; they are becoming expectations that consumers have of the nutraceutical industry

And those expectations sit alongside the requirements consumers have for the efficacy of the nutraceutical products they are purchasing. Efficacy that must be backed up by robust data to satisfy both consumers demands and to meet increasingly stringent regulatory standards in nutraceuticals. And it should be remembered that efficacy is not just about the active ingredients. It’s also about ensuring reliable dose absorption at the right time and place in the digestive system.1

This sits in the context of an ageing population. By 2050, one in six (16%) people in the world will be over age 65.3 And the health issues that confront older people are often associated with chronic conditions that can be prevented or delayed by engaging in healthy behaviors.4

The burden of cardiovascular conditions and cognitive health decline, for example, are not going to reduce any time soon. Ageing populations and millennials in particular are actively seeking to reduce the risk and/or effects of disease through effective nutraceuticals with evidence-based ingredients.5

The rise of the socially-responsible consumer

From concerns about food miles to plastic packaging, from sweatshops to sustainable farming practices, environmental and social responsibility is becoming part of our collective global mindset.

In the context of nutraceuticals, it’s no longer sufficient to say what an ingredient is, consumers want to know where it came from and how it was processed.1,6 Only when your potential purchaser feels comfortable with the answers will they put their hand in their pocket and their trust in your brand.

Nutraceutical manufacturers need to think about the source of their ingredients. If at all possible, using non-GMO, organic, sustainably-sourced ingredients that exemplify a socially responsible approach. 

But social responsibility doesn’t end there. The shelf life of a product is inexorably linked to its carbon footprint. Product that ends up in landfill because it has expired is a bad situation for everyone, essentially wasting all the energy and resources that have gone into the product. So, the challenge is to extend shelf-life while still adhering to the consumer dislike for additives and preservatives.

Brands with social responsibility messaging and those with positive actions regarding ingredient sourcing, improving supply chains, and end product manufacturing, will thrive in tomorrow’s market. 

To be successful in nutraceuticals, we need to understand the individual wants and motivations of the consumer within the wider societal focus on sustainability.

Talk to us to see how Evonik Health Care can support your social responsibility and sustainability goals through our portfolio.

1. Nutrition Insight. What’s trending in Nutritionals. Last accessed 28 Aug 2020. 

2. Representative online study for Evonik regarding the consumption of food supplements, conducted among 2524 regular consumers of food supplements from Germany aged 18-80 years (2018).

3. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. World Population Prospects 2019. Last accessed 28 Aug 2020. 

4. WHO. Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health. 2019. Last accessed 28 Aug 2020. 

5. CRN. 2019 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. Last accessed 28 Aug 2020. 

6. Nutraceuticals World. Repositioning Nutraceutical Products for Growth Markets. Last accessed 28 Aug 2020.