Bad Treats Turn to Healthy Eats - How Classically Unhealthy Brands are Exploring the Wellness Trend

With the wellness market reaching $4.2 trillion globally, it's no wonder many brands are jumping to grab a piece of that pun intended. And of course, with American consumers becoming ever more so aware of what they put in their bodies, and now more likely to make food choices based on ingredients, the buying trends are shifting to a more health conscious route. And although I can't imagine life without an occasional Ben & Jerry's pint, even they are evolving to match the market demands.

Credit: Kraft Heinz Company

Here are a few classically unhealthy brands that are releasing (or acquiring) healthy alternatives to stay 'relevant' among the new #wellnesstrends.

1. Kraft Heinz - According to Grocery Dive, Kraft Heinz' CEO admits spending nearly $250mil in product makeovers to increase healthy options, while not losing customers. Recently, they created a version of Capri Sun that's organic with no added sugar, Oscar Meyer hot dogs without byproducts, and Kraft Mac & Cheese with no artificial food coloring.

2. Ocean Spray - PSFK recently did a write up on Ocean Spray's new brand strategy to scale health-forward, sustainability-focused food. Their Chief Innovation Office acknowledges how much more aware of functional foods Americans have become, which is owing to Ocean Spray's vow to make all of their cranberries sustainably grown by 2020. Furthermore, they're continuing with releasing new and innovative products in their line of unsweetened drinks.

3. Coca Cola - They've been getting a lot flack lately for their seemingly contradictory support of health organizations, but lobbying against anti-sugary drink health bills. However to keep up with millennial preferences, they've introduced more product lines like waters and sweetener alternatives, and acquired companies like Peace Tea, Green Mountain Coffee, Odwalla, Zico coconut and Honest Tea.

4. General Mills - General Mills has attempted multiple times to introduce healthy alternatives, starting with their foray into natural dyes for the popular Trix cereal. Though that backlashed, GM responded by their acquisition of a handful of organic and healthy brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, Muir Glen, Liberte, Larabar, and Cascadian well as going gluten free and whole grain on many of their legacy cereals.

5. Nestle - In a similar move, Nestlé is taking a huge leap forward with introductions of many health conscious products as well as acquisitions of health food companies. They recently made the decision to change Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese to be made with more fresh and recognizable ingredients. Their brand Gerber now offers organic baby food and they also own Sweet Leaf Tea which has some organic products. They launched their Nestle Nutritional Profiling System understand the nutritional value of their foods and beverages. More on their brands and initiatives here. They're also venturing into offering high-protein versions of popular chocolate bars such as Boost, Mars, Snickers and more.

6. Hershey's - Hershey’s removed GMO beet sugar from their chocolate bars and owns Dagoba Organic Chocolate along with some other very iconic health brands to complete their portfolio. They acquired Amplify Snack Brands, the name behind the iconic Skinny Pop, as well as Krave beef jerky in 2015.

7. Ben & Jerry's - Last but not least, B&Js. With the intro into the market of brands like

HaloTop, Artic Zero and So Delicious, popular Ben & Jerry's wanted to enter into the health conscious world. They started their lower calorie line Moo-phoria, which has less calories, less fat, less sugar, and is made with organic dairy.

According to a recent study by Justfood...

"Increasing healthcare costs and a declining confidence in domestic health services has given rise to a segment of consumers who are more health conscious and motivated to seek out products that promote healthy lifestyle and well-being". Serving this idea, and knowing that consumers will pay the price for this preference, these popular brands are making changes, and I'm sure they're just a few of many more to come.

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