Health and Wellness This Week: Breakfast, Health IT, and Fitness Apps

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This week we saw signs of growth for breakfast, healthcare IT, and fitness apps.


On The Go Breakfast Is Big Business

While the fast food chains are currently fighting to gain market share with breakfast offerings, other industries are looking to take a bite out of the breakfast market. Post Holdings Inc. recently confirmed it would acquire Michael Foods Inc. for $2.45 billion, a move to expand its breakfast offerings. Breakfast cereal makers are fighting to stay relevant. An opportunity for truly healthier alternatives may exist, too . 9bar debuted a breakfast range of bars, including the 9bar Almond & Raspberry, 9bar Apricot & Strawberry, 9bar Cashew & Cocoa, and 9bar Peanut & Raisin. The bars contain seeds, chewy oats, puffed brown rice, and protein-packed soya crispies.

Marketing Strategy Insight: If you're in the nutrition or healthy snack business, a breakfast offering or an adjustment to your marketing strategy to position your product as a breakfast option could be a lucrative opportunity. But with fierce competition, you're going to have to do something to stand out if you want to get in on the breakfast action. Make sure nutrition product packaging is eye catching on a shelf with many other products.

Health IT Wins Venture Capital

Mercom Capital, a communications and consulting firm, reported that healthcare IT companies raised more VC money last quarter than in any quarter before, with $858 million invested. That's almost double the amount invested in the first quarter of last year. Practice-focused companies accounted for less deals (60) than consumer-focused companies (103). However, practice-focused companies closed bigger deals, including an $89 million round for Italian company Dedalus Group, and a $77.5 million investment for MedHOK. M&A activity totaled 53 transactions.

Marketing Strategy Insight: The market for new healthcare IT companies is hot, which is a good thing for startups, but also means that competition will be tough. The more cluttered the market gets, the more companies will have to work to distinguish themselves from the crowd. If you're a healthcare IT startup, entering the market with a strong brand is paramount. Brands can endure – technology changes at the speed of innovation.


Consumers and Businesses Embracing Fitness Apps

According to a new report by Nielsen, 1/3 of smartphone owners (46 million unique people) used apps from the health and fitness category in January 2014.  These apps were accessed on average 16 times per month and used for nearly one hour. Nielsen also noted that popular apps are often connected to wearables, such as Fitbit's app with 3.3 million users, and Nike + Running, with 0.8 million users. Popular standalone wellness apps included Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal with 8.7 million users, Nexercise with 3 million users, and Runkeeper with 2.1 million users for the month.

Marketing Strategy Insight: Again, we have an industry that's really picked up steam lately. With fitness apps, companies will need to find ways to effectively monetize and promote adherence. Telling your company story in a compelling way that sets you apart from others will be increasingly important. Brands in this space will need to find ways to connect to consumers in meaningful ways to develop lasting relationships. Think beyond the app – how can you provide a fully integrated brand experience that resonates with consumers and reaches them across multiple channels? A crowded market means it's paramount for companies to build a strong brand that is differentiated, memorable, and recognizable.

Health and Wellness This Week: Breakfast, Health IT, and Fitness Apps