Growth of E-Cigs and Healthy Food Products Proves That Consumers Are Health Conscious

There are a lot of assumptions that are made these days about people’s habits and whether or not they are taking good care of themselves and being health conscious. There are a lot of people that would answer this question with an emphatic no, but actual grocery store sales would indicate that it is actually quite the opposite. It seems like people are really trying to be more health conscious, eat better and curb bad habits. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the following recent purchasing habits at 10 popular grocery chains. The data for these results came from the 10 largest supermarkets in the UK.

Surprising Trends

Leading the sales increases were e-cigarettes and a variety of nutritional sports products; this will surprise a lot of people, especially the e-cigarette sales.

Another big gainer was the ‘free from’ foods section. These include such things as gluten free and dairy free products that positioned themselves over the last few years to go from seldom bought niche items to now being major sales players on a regular basis. Sales of these products increased over 15% from the previous year. Sales topped ½ billion pounds for the first time ever for products in this category. A part of the ‘Free foods’ sales boost was the fact that many major food companies got on board and started to advertise their own version of the allergy free and overall healthier products.

Products that found themselves sliding down the sales charts were such things as good ole staples (bread, milk, etc.) and frozen foods (not surprising after the recent horse meat scandal).


This one caught a lot of people by surprise. But it’s true; e-cigarettes were the leading new product sold in British supermarkets in 2014. What makes it even more surprising is the fact that many consumer groups and government officials were pushing against the use of these devices, even though studies as to their detrimental health benefits have proved largely inconclusive.

Part of the appeal of e-cigarettes is consumers can pick their own blend of ingredients and they don’t have to include such harmful products as the nicotine that someone automatically gets when they smoke cigarettes. E-cigarettes users do not inhale actual smoke either; what looks like smoke that comes out of them is actually a vapour that enters an e-cigarette user’s body at a much cooler temperature than smoke.

Many people were also said to be using e-cigarettes as a way to cut down on or quit their regular smoking habits. This can be done by gradually decreasing the amount of nicotine that a vaper (the term for an e-cigarette user) uses in the liquid flavour mix in the device. The move away from tobacco cigarettes suggests an increasing awareness of people that they need to take better care of their bodies.

E-Cigarette Sales Statistics

According to some major grocery chains, e-cigarette sales rose almost 50% in the 2014 calendar year. That is a pretty robust sales figure for any product, but the fact that so many people were advocating against their use makes these figures even more impressive. It becomes even more impressive when it is noted that British store patrons spent 145 million pounds less at supermarkets in 2014.

Sports Nutrition Products

Foods that were said to give a person more energy, help them stay fit and boost their nutrition were also big gainers. Nutritional smoothies, power shakes and nutrition bar sales were up almost 40% over the previous year. Again this is strong evidence that consumers are becoming ever increasingly aware of what they put into their bodies.

Other Gainers

Health conscious products were not the only big gainers. Premium products found themselves in the spotlight too. Some products that many would consider ‘luxury items;’ such as craft beer, premium roasted coffees’, special blends of tea and tinned fruit rose dramatically in 2015. Many supermarket managers feel that a large portion of business was lost in 2014 to specialty shops and volume discount stores.

The Horsemeat Effect

As a result of the horsemeat scandal that saw it being found in several frozen food products, sales went into a big slump as consumers lost their confidence in these products. Many grocery suppliers said that processed and frozen foods were already fighting an uphill battle even before the horsemeat scandal became public.

And it was not just frozen meats either. Desserts, pastries, potato products and others took a big hit as well.

Changing Times

These were some interesting sales figures for sure. Many were very surprising to say the least. These trends are also expected to continue as people get more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Trends such as the e-cigarette sales also show that people are willing to trade the known for the unknown in most cases and try new things. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2015 for sure.

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