Though we are still getting through the peaks of the COVID-19 crisis, many investors are shifting their focus to post COVID-19 economy strategy to get in front of managing their investment portfolios.
To that end, I have been observing, listening, and reading several intellectual examinations of the current conditions as people are starting to gaze into their crystal balls, attempting to predict structural shifts in consumer behavior due to the pandemic. While the final data will tell the full story of how and why certain groups were affected by COVID-19 more severely than others, The World Health Organization is already reporting that people with diabetes are among the most vulnerable.
Recently, Mexican Deputy Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said, “decades of poor eating habits in the country have created an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other health complications that make its people more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-mexico-idUSKBN21N017)
As a healthy food investor, the past decade has been filled with a renaissance of deal-related activity. The combination of technology applications, disruption of the old guard branded products, and new distribution platforms accounted for an increase in private funding from $23.1B from 2014-2016 vs. $52.1B in 2017-2019 according to AgFunders 2019 annual report. As with many new categories and technology, the early years are filled with expensive R&D and high-cost products. The food industry has been no different and has relied on the brand loyalty of high-end grocery outlets such as Whole Foods and Natural Grocers to provide scalability for companies wanting to make a difference in the health impact that food can make in someone’s diet.
However, even before COVID-19, consumers had begun to realize that food companies were paying for false health claims or misleading statements to ensure brand loyalty. At the same time, the government provided little regulation to these practices. As science caught up and began taking a more active role in how the body responds to certain ingredients, factory food production was exposed. Consumers are now educating themselves about ingredients, not only the calories, fat grams, and sugar content, but rampant pesticide use, animal hormones, and unhealthy processing techniques linked to health issues and weight gain. Four decades of blind oversight has created nearly a 40% obesity rate in the U.S. alone.
Consumers are now educating themselves about ingredients, not only the calories, fat grams, and sugar content, but rampant pesticide use, animal hormones, and unhealthy processing techniques linked to health issues and weight gain. Four decades of blind oversight has created nearly a 40% obesity rate in the U.S. alone.
As individuals educate themselves further and demand change, COVID-19 will accelerate healthy foods’ transition to the masses. It is now the responsibility of the government to make healthy food accessible to the masses, especially low-income families and individuals, or we will find ourselves compromised for health epidemics to come. We can’t eliminate threats we don’t see coming, but we can control how our global population is prepared to fight for their health from the inside out using nutrition.
Whether or not the government changes its policies around healthy food production, COVID-19 will accelerate the availability of resources to preventative health measures based on consumer demand.
Consumers will find ways to extend their longevity and protect their immune systems later in life by educating themselves about how food can be used as preventative medicine, linking all generations to one common goal – maximize health.
Post By: Ross Iverson, CIO