Graciana Méndez
Graciana is a Senior Regional Consumer Insights Analyst for Latin America at Mintel. She is responsible for developing research plans, analyzing consumer and market data, writing research reports on how consumer trends are evolving in the region and presenting insights to clients.

Latin American consumers have, in recent times, faced a number of challenges that affect their overall health, such as rising obesity and sedentary lifestyles. But the pandemic has brought with it new health risks, including an increase in anxiety disorders. Brands have an opportunity here to step up and play a key role in encouraging people to take their own self-care journeys.

An active lifestyle is a key part of self-care

Source: O Boticário Facebook

Latin American consumers say they prioritize fitness over all other forms of wellbeing. With this in mind, brands need to seek out new formulas that are lightweight, long-lasting, sweat-resistant and refreshing so that active consumers can feel confident and cool during and after workouts.

Brazilian beauty giants have already rolled out whole new lines to help consumers in their quest for health and fitness. While Natura has launched a new makeup line designed for “sport-maniacs,” O Boticário has unveiled Ativa, a new skincare line for pre- and post-workout.

Brands also have a role to play in helping people stay engaged with their fitness routines in the long term. Shifting the conversation from body image to highlighting the benefits of exercise on the mind and body will go a long way to achieving this.

Stress-relieving ingredients worth shouting about

As anxiety levels rise amongst Latin American consumers, stress-relieving products will undoubtedly be in high demand. Indeed, almost half of Peruvian consumers say that are actively seeking ways to reduce stress. And there are a number of stress-relieving ingredients to look out for. Nervines (eg chamomile, lavender) are a group of botanicals that are thought to reduce stress and anxiety levels but remain relatively unexplored outside the tea category.

While Adaptogens refer to natural ingredients that claim to help the body adapt to physical and mental stress. Leading adaptogenic ingredients include holy basil, ashwagandha and medicinal mushrooms.

Products like Padam Masala Chai from Colombia contain chai adaptogenic ingredients such as reishi from Ganoderma lucidum and ashwagandha to help better respond to stress and physical and mental challenges.

Focus on self-care products that support women’s life moments

But the pandemic has not only resulted in a rise in anxiety, it has shone a light on the lives of women who have been harder hit by the effects of the pandemic. Recent UN studies have shown that gender inequalities have become more evident in Latin America, with women more affected by the increase in unemployment, poverty and the overload of unpaid care such as household and childcare.

Source: Agni

As a result, there’s real scope for brands to create initiatives and products that address the specific challenges that women are facing, such as apps that help families keep track of their daily household tasks and share the load easily.

Beyond the direct effects of the pandemic, there is a clear opportunity to help women feel more at ease when going through different (potentially stressful) life moments, such as menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause, with solutions that recognize their changing nutritional needs.

Agni, for example, creates foods with specific nutrition profiles catered to life moments, such as menopause and postpartum recovery. Vogue Brazil and Chock have launched a new line of functional chocolates. PMS is designed to ensure satiety, Energy can fight physical and mental fatigue, and Calm has relaxing properties thanks to its chamomile extract.

Meanwhile, Helty Carob Syrup from Peru helps support during menopause. It is energizing, supports the nervous system and claims to prevent anxiety, nervousness and depression.

Shift the conversation from disinfection to care when it comes to cleaning

Source: Aunt Fannie’s

But it need not be just products for us that can help with self-care. Mintel Household Trend, ‘Safe Home, Serene Home’ explores how household brands can also help preserve our mental and physical wellbeing with products and routines. Homecare brands should use their growing importance to more clearly position as wellness allies, moving away from germ/bacteria and virus protection and focusing on claims related to health and experiences, such as fragrance and free from toxic chemicals claims.

Probiotics in particular could really take off here as their healing properties keep us and our homes healthy. Products such as Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Mandarin Grove Probiotic Power Dish Soap, which is described as a hard-working and non-toxic formula consisting of only probiotic- and plant-based ingredients.

What we think

With many more Latin American consumers now dealing with fear and anxiety, self-care will be critical to coping with an uneasy reality as the world starts to open up post-COVID. As a result, brands have an opportunity to become a source of comfort by helping consumers find ways to nourish both their minds and their bodies.