The health and wellness sector is developing fast in Malaysia and products within this category are attracting more and more consumers. The most successful product categories are health and wellness (HW) packaged food, with HW baby food and dairy leading the way (Euromonitor). Soft drinks generate three times as much revenue as hot drinks. When it comes to the vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) sector then general well being supplements has by far the most attractive position in the market followed by digestive health, brain health and memory. The ‘Beauty from Within’, vision health and cardiovascular health supplements have the weakest positions in terms of generated sales within this market (Euromonitor)
The fast-growing popularity of the HW sector in Malaysia can be explained by several different factors. First, Malaysians are becoming increasingly aware of the adverse consequences of overly indulgent foods and of sedentary lifestyles on their health. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol occurrences have risen in the country and increased media coverage and government campaigns concerning these problems encourages the Malaysians to change their diets and turn to healthier products. HW products are not only consumed by people concerned by potential future health problems but also by people who suffer from a diet-related disease and want to alleviate their symptoms.
Second, the HW sector witnesses growth mainly in urban areas and the ongoing urbanization of the country drives lasting growth in the sector. In the countryside, HW products have gained in popularity too, as distribution of HW products has improved all over the country as infrastructure improves. Malaysians living in the countryside should not be marginalized by brands as their households are bigger, which means families are more likely to buy bigger quantities of HW products.
Finally, disposable income has risen and should continue to rise, supporting growth in the sector, maybe even encouraging the development of higher quality, premium products. According to Euromonitor, the number of Malaysian households with an annual disposable income of more than $300,000 is expected to increase from 45,360 in 2016 to 86,550 in 2021, making this a market worth considering.