By Thierry Malleret, economist and founder, Monthly Barometer   
By Thierry Malleret, economist and founder, Monthly Barometer  

These are a couple of the “must-watch” issues in the wellness space for August:

(1) It is worth paying attention to a trend building up in health clubs and hotels. Both are creating “social spaces” where people can connect, work, eat and play on top of consuming the service for which they came in the first place (working out at the gym, finding a room at the hotel). As the separation between work, play and rest is getting blurred in this trend, the question for the wellness industry is whether it will be sustained, and if it is, whether “stand-alone” gyms can survive.

(2) As we follow closely what’s happening around the world with sugar taxes, it’s worth asking whether the recent measure to tax sweetened drinks in Philadelphia (despite fierce opposition from lobbying groups) presages more such measures around the U.S. and elsewhere.

The city authorities took a different tack from that of politicians, who tried and failed to pass sugary-drink taxes by not promising to earmark the proceeds for health programs, but portraying the tax as a source of revenue that could be used to fund popular city programs (like universal pre-kindergarten). Jim Krieger, executive director of Healthy Food America, an organization that helps U.S. cities considering soda taxes, described it as a “watershed moment” that might signal a growing public acceptance of soft drink taxes. If it is, this is incontrovertibly good news for wellness.

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