Trend: putting the “I” back in personalized nutrition
The word “trend” is tricky. This involves not only what’s happening right now – what trends are driving consumers and where they’re putting their money – but also what the market should be considering for the future of manufacturing, warehousing, merchandising and more.
At New Hope Network, we believe in exploring the “why” behind trends. (Yes, we too have been guilty of the occasional weakness in trend-spotting over the years: Lavender Spirulina Cricket Bars, anyone?) The why, or “macro forces,” are most relevant to shaping the future of natural products and have their origins in three paradigm-shifting “cultural forces”, we identify them as “purpose-driven commerce”, “holistic health and wellness” and “modern life”. Zoom in even further and within these macro-forces are more nuanced trends that help indicate how the industry is innovating.
The In the Aisle section of the Expo East 2022 edition of Natural Foods Merchandiser includes expert analysis from New Hope editors, who provide in-depth commentary on 10 new and still-emerging trends and their manifestations in the Natural Products Expo East exhibitor market. These trends provide insight into where the market is headed and what trends we believe will continue to shape it in the future.—Adrienne Smith
Nearly a decade ago, New Hope Network touted “food tribes” as key drivers of consumer preferences and behaviors. Proverbial members of groups of people following a particular nutritional or dietary regimen would pledge allegiance to one way of eating as a way of life and would stop at nothing less than full compliance with vegan, gluten-free, raw, local, keto , etc. etc . diets. These collectives, although they have played an important role in awakening food consumption over the past decade, seem to be taking a back seat to more personalized approaches to health and lifestyle decision-making. food – and we have since learned to avoid the culturally appropriate term “food tribes”.
Part of the change can be attributed to how young consumers rate their health. According to a recent study by the New Hope Network, they do this based on how they feel. Since feelings are, well, deeply personal, so are eating habits. Although defined diets have not totally disappeared, consumers are increasingly embracing nuance and individuality in nutrition.
Intuitive eating, individual health markers, and values-based decisions make it harder to put consumers in a box and blur the lines of the future of food. And while advancements in personalization were once seen as subordinate to breakthroughs in R&D, today it’s more about getting back to the basics of listening to your body, Ayurveda-style. This trend is evident in the marketing and positioning of products less tied to a specific diet and more focused on product benefits and healthy ingredients. For example, more and more companies are prioritizing “plant-based” messages over “vegan” to celebrate fruits and vegetables, and communicate the benefits of “healthy fats” over leading with “keto.”
Beyond diets, we see the group mentality strengthening around values such as the climate and sustainable agriculture. With these topics, consumers recognize the power of the collective to have a measurable impact. But what’s for dinner? They let their body make the decisions.
I eat my vegetables This vegetable soup brand celebrates vegetables and those who love them. The positive message is centered around culinary flavors and clean ingredients, as opposed to veganism or vegetarianism. MSRP: $8.99 Booth: 4070
Mediterranean Three Poshi Bean Salad This delicious plant-based ready-to-eat product is formulated “for your everyday well-being,” according to its tagline. With its healthy convenience, Poshi’s latest product appeals to health-conscious foodies who can easily customize the product to suit their lifestyle. MSRP: $4.29 Booth: 1415