Business Ideas 2021: On-demand health and wellness

From press play workouts to all the nutrition you need in one little pouch – the on-demand health and wellness services you could provide in 2021

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Last year, we listed connected and convenience fitness as one of our 2020 business ideas. With the concept relevant now more than ever, this year, we’ve expanded it to include wellness as a whole.

It’s 2021, and when we want something, we want it now; whether it’s an item we bought online (thank you Amazon Prime) or an entire film collection at our fingertips (thank you Netflix). And now, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and changing attitudes towards wellbeing, we can put something else on the instant list – health and wellness.

On-demand wellness covers anything that can help us to improve our general health and wellbeing – whether that’s exercise, mindfulness, or nutrition – whenever we want it. Think along the lines of fitness apps, social media pages, and YouTube workout channels (goodbye Davina), mindfulness apps, and even food products that give us all the nutrition we need without having to eat a plate of spinach and curly kale.

So, what’s in it for you? Well, whether it’s setting up your own remote fitness business, developing a product that gives us all the nutrition we need in one neat little hit, or taking your background in counselling to an accessible new level, we’ll tell you why these ideas could be a cause for you to exercise your business brain in 2021.

Want to read about more top business ideas? Check out the full list of the best business ideas for 2021

Starting an on-demand health and wellness business – why is it a good idea?

On-demand health and wellness isn’t a new phenomenon. By October 2017, YouTube channels from the likes of Blogilates and FitnessBlender had just over 8.5 million subscribers between them, while meditation app HeadSpace has been around since 2010 and has over 54 million subscribers.

Recently, however, there’s been a big push to remove the stigma around mental health and wellbeing. Campaigns from Radio One’s Greg James and best selling books from the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Professor Green, and Russell Brand have all helped to encourage people to speak out and seek help if they’re feeling low.

And since the coronavirus pandemic, the awareness of and need for on-demand health and wellness products has risen even more.

When the UK went into lockdown, the UK’s 9.7 million gym goers couldn’t sign up to their set of weekly workout classes, while almost 35% percent of adults reported a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Accessible products and services that helped us to improve our sense of wellbeing became a necessity – and we think that need will only continue.

Why? Well, people have had a taste of what it’s like to workout from home for a fraction of the price of their annual gym membership. They can tune into their workout channel, and a qualified instructor will push them just as hard at 7am in the morning as they would at their local gym.

People are also more aware of what they need to do to improve their mental health and wellbeing. As the stigma surrounding mental health diminishes, apps like Headspace and Calm are here to offer on-demand guidance and counselling exactly when people need it – all without the expensive fees that come with private, face to face therapy.

When it comes to nutritional products, you only have to look at big high street names like Pret a Manger to see that there’s an on-demand nutrition market starting to emerge. The introduction of shots of charcoal, ginger, and turmeric are catering to the on-the-goers looking for a quick nutritional boost.

For those looking for something more substantial, a study by Whole Foods Market predicts a trend involving adult nutritional pouches. While they may look a bit like baby food, they’re packed full of vitamins and ingredients to give the body a boost. These on-demand products could answer the need for healthy on-the-go alternatives to cereal bars and traditional snacks.

Health and wellness business ideas

As we’ve mentioned throughout this piece, the main areas for on-demand health and wellness are in fitness, mental wellbeing, and nutrition. There are a number of ways you can get involved with these areas.

First, you could become a remote personal trainer or nutrition consultant. This is great if you already have qualifications in fitness, psychology, or food, or if part of the larger plan is for you to gain qualifications in those fields.

According to the National Register of Personal Trainers, a personal trainer course can set you back between £1,500 and £2,000. However, both psychology and food-related services may require you to have a higher level qualification, such as an undergraduate or masters degree.

Of course, you don’t have to be directly involved with the product or service your business offers. You could invest in the help of people who are already specialists in their field, and use their expertise to create nutritional products or deliver health and wellbeing services.

A person who has done this successfully is James McMaster, the CEO of nutrition brand Huel. Successfully building on the initial ideas of the company’s entrepreneur founder Julian Hearn, the company sold an impressive 25 million liquid meals in its first three years.

Secondly, you could build a wellness app. Someone who has already done this is Andrea Oliver Garcia, founder of Emjoy, an audio-based wellness app that helps women achieve sexual liberation.

“I designed Emjoy to address the orgasm gap normalised by my girlfriends and I along with so many others. User feedback shows that our ever-growing, on-demand library helps women feel increasingly empowered, experience pleasure, report more libido, and learn about their bodies in a safe, fun space. With every download, we move closer towards creating a future where sexual wellness is considered as important as mental and physical wellbeing.”

You could even develop and sell products related to the health and wellness industry, such as fitness equipment to facilitate working out from home, or craft products for those that find art and crafts therapeutic if they’re struggling with their mental health.

Insider opinion

We spoke to ProYouth, a brand that champions grassroots health and nutrition, about how it entered the on-demand health and wellness market.

“As a brand, we're all about inspiring healthy nutritional choices from grassroots upwards. We do this through empowered education – because our product isn't just another protein bar, it’s been developed using science-backed R&D to focus on long term health benefits.

What's most important for us is to find the right people to speak to. That's what the digital world has enabled us to do. We've been able to use social media to find very specific communities, such as sports clubs, nutritionists, runners, mums with active children, and young aspiring athletes. These are the communities that benefit from our content and products, and social media allows you to have direct access to influencers and potential customers in relevant communities.”

Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer

Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.

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