Value share of e-commerce in PH health, wellness F&B seen to expand

The value share of e-commerce in health and wellness packaged food and beverages is likely to continue to expand as more Filipino consumers become more health conscious amid the pandemic.

The Euromonitor Digest said consumers, particularly more affluent ones, continue to grow more comfortable shopping online and retailers increase their pace of investment in this channel.

“Many of the trends inspired by Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) during 2020 are likely to weaken or even be reversed during 2021, as the threat posed by the pandemic starts to weaken and daily life begins to normalize,” said the monthly online publication of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB).

The report expects demand will shift back from retail to the foodservice channel.

“Within retail, convenience stores and forecourt retailers are likely to regain some of the value share they lost to supermarkets. Moreover, the stockpiling of such products as FF (fortified/functional) powdered milk and probiotic yogurt that occurred during 2020 is very unlikely to be repeated,” it said.

The pandemic reinforced the dominance of supermarkets in health and wellness packaged food, as it gained value-share from convenience stores and forecourt retailers.

This is with the notable exception of FF beverages, where other grocery retailers remain the most important channel.

It said e-commerce saw strong growth in its retail value share in both health and wellness packaged food and beverages last year albeit from a very low base.

Restrictions on movement, a fear of contagion, and increased interest in bulk buying led a growing number of local consumers to shop online especially during the lockdown period, it added.

Meanwhile, the report said demand for naturally healthy (NH) cereal bars, fruit snacks and nuts, seeds, and trail mix will begin to recover as consumers spend less time at home, which will boost on-the-go consumption.

The Coronavirus led many consumers to make fewer grocery shopping trips and there was a significant decrease in on-the-go consumption.

“Retail volume sales of both NH and BFY (better-for-you) beverages are forecast to rebound during 2021. However, this recovery will be modest ­even by 2025, retail volume sales of both NH and BFY beverages are forecast to remain below their 2019 peaks,” it added.

The Euromonitor Digest further said deepening consumer interest in health and wellness, which will continue to drive consumers away from health and wellness beverages and towards bottled water, will be an important factor in this.

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