Five Health & Nutrition Trends to Watch in 2022
Five consumer preferences and trends that we can expect in 2022
The past year saw many of the same challenges that were experienced in 2021, added a few new ones, and provided the perspective of a full year of pandemic-related dynamics to review. The challenge for the coming year is to try to understand which of those we can anticipate sticking around, which ones might shrink or grow, and what will be new for 2022.
Looking forward we have compiled our findings – searching broadly across the industries we serve – to identify 5 consumer preferences and trends that we can expect in 2022.
|TRENDS & KEY TAKEAWAYS:|
The following highlights the key takeaways of each trend. Click on the links below to read further.
Aged to Perfection
Healthy aging is fast becoming a staple nutrition trend as consumers are increasingly taking preventative measures to maintain their health and vitality as they mature. Now more than ever, consumers are looking for products and ingredients that help them to remain active, supporting their ability to do what they value throughout their lives. And it’s not just the boomers, younger demographics like Generation Z and Millennials are also recognizing the importance of building a healthy foundation and are putting more attention on preventative healthcare.
There are many dynamics and factors at play related to healthy aging. A population that is getting older, shifting perceptions towards health and wellness, and consumers putting even greater focus on prevention through an active lifestyle and balanced diet – are just a few of the ways this category is changing.
As the importance of prevention becomes more apparent, younger consumers are also becoming more interested in the healthy aging market. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people 60 and older worldwide will double the current number in less than 30 years – from 1 billion in 2020 to 2 billion in 2050.[i] These consumers are paying more attention to healthy aging, and brands are paying attention too. In fact, according to Innova Market Insights, global launches of foods and beverages bearing ‘aging well’ claims more than doubled between 2017 and 2020, with an average yearly growth rate of 32%.[ii]
Healthy aging is all about remaining active and healthy for as long as possible. Recognizing the link between diet and overall health, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in areas such as mental well-being, weight management, and blood sugar management. Regarding the latter, consumers are paying a lot more attention to sugar content in food and how that affects their blood sugar levels. Research by The NPD Group has shown that 56% of US adults look at sugar content when viewing a food label. This is followed by calories and sodium content.[iii] This trend is strong in Europe as well. Mintel consumer research reports that 59% of French and German consumers are trying to limit their sugar intake.[iv] Additionally, a 2019 FMCG Gurus poll of 26,000 respondents reported, consumers are increasingly aware of the pathology with 44% reporting a high level of awareness of their sugar consumption.[v] Consumers are not only looking to cut back their sugar consumption, but they are also looking for ways to support healthy blood sugar levels. As the demand for trustworthy ingredients develops, the blood sugar reduction market has seen a growth in new research. Ingredients that manage blood sugar, and that are backed by science, will see significant opportunities in the coming year.
Another key area within the healthy aging category is beauty-from-within. This segment is experiencing substantial growth as consumers continue to embrace self-care and wellness to combat the effects of aging. Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) estimates that beauty-from-within supplements grew 7.2% in 2020 from the previous year, and estimated sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2021 in the U.S.[vi] And consumers aren’t just looking to supplements to achieve their beauty-from-within goals. According to FMCG Gurus, 47% of North American consumers look for foods, beverages, or supplements that can improve their appearance (up 5% from 2018), with 52% specifically looking for products that can reduce signs of aging (up 17% from 2018)[vii] Products that complement other wellness priorities, such as joint health, are also resonating with consumers. An ingredient that is seeing significant growth in the beauty-from-within category is collagen. According to analysis by ClearCut Analytics, collagen experienced a 62% year over year revenue growth on Amazon ending August 2021. While collagen is a key ingredient in the healthy aging sector, nutraceuticals are also on the rise as consumers look for products with multiple benefits.
Within the healthy aging space, nutraceuticals and functional ingredients are playing an increasingly important role. According to Innova Market Insights, nutraceutical and functional ingredients accounted for 31% of global food and beverage launches positioned with a healthy aging claim in 2020.[viii] Botanical antioxidants – such as polyphenols – are very popular within this category, with top claims pointing towards a more holistic approach to wellness.
The increasing demand for botanical/nutraceutical ingredients, changing consumer attitudes, and heightened awareness of preventative care, all are anticipated to continue boosting the demand for ingredients and products supporting healthy aging. In 2022, we expect the healthy aging category to remain a high priority for consumers and manufacturers, steering the development of supplement and functional food products in the years to come.
As we enter the new year, we are coming from a place where self-care and environmental awareness have taken a strong hold in consumer purchasing habits. While sustainability has been on the radar of many trend forecasts over the past few years, it continues to grow in importance to consumers, showing up in purchases and consumer intention indications. Consumers may not know or use the term “sustainability” in everyday conversations, but nonetheless, public concern and expectations about this issue have reached an all-time high—and are continuing to rise.
According to research on Dutch consumer spending from the Sustainable Food Monitor of Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands, the demand for products with a sustainability label is increasing, with consumers spending 8.2 billion Euros in 2020 – an increase of 7% from 2019[ix].
SPINS has similarly reported that US sales numbers, in the Natural Enhanced and Conventional Multioutlet channels ending March 31, 2021, on products with sustainability positionings has increased 13.1% for ‘organic ingredients’, 13.7% for ‘fair trade’ and 21.9% for ‘animal welfare’[x]. As the health of the planet becomes an increasingly urgent concern, consumers seek peace of mind and a sense of participatory cooperation in their food choices, pursuing clean label, organic, and non-GMO food options. To match consumer demand, supplement and food and beverage companies are heightening their efforts to improve environmental efficiency, particularly in terms of decreasing plastic use and food waste.
Growing interest in reducing food waste has led to increased demand for upcycling. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in upcycled foods and ingredients as they become more aware of the impacts of food waste. Coinciding with this demand, new product launches and standards are making upcycled foods more visible. The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) launched the first upcycled food certification for food ingredients and products over a year ago, and have experienced significant growth in this time, with many new certified products coming into the market this year. Although the concept of upcycling food waste has been around for years, expect it to become front and center for food manufacturers going forward.
Beyond food waste, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with packaging waste. The pet food industry is taking action towards sustainable packaging, particularly an organization called the Pet Sustainability Coalition. According to the organization, 99% of all packaging of pet food is currently not sustainable – and this is becoming a concern for the consumer. One of their areas of focus going forward is on recycling.[xi] Another sector that is working on sustainable packaging is store-brands. According to StoreBrands.com, both Ahold and Aldi will make 100% of their private brand packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. Many of their competitors have made similar commitments[xii]
Part of the development of the sustainability trend in 2022 may be related to awareness. A recent Hartman Group study on consumer awareness found that “72% of US consumers say they would spend more/extra money on a product or company that aligns with their personal sustainability values, only 22% can identify a sustainable product; 17% a sustainable company”. This appears to be a clear way for brands to stand out in the market.[xiii]
Immunity products have been front-and-center since the pandemic began and have increasingly established their place in consumers wellness routines. FMCG Gurus reported, that 64% of global consumers say that COVID has made them more aware of their immune health. As a result, immune health will likely remain a top-of-mind issue for the foreseeable future – but it may start to look a little different. More options, different combinations, and new ingredients are poised to move into the spotlight as consumer interest drives innovation to meet the market demand.
According to Innova Market Insights, product launches with an immunity claim rose 18% in the 12 months following the pandemic compared to the 12 months prior.[xiv] Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) data shows that supplement sales grew by $7 billion to $55.7 billion in 2020 – with one third of all new supplement sales attributed to the immune health category which saw a 72% increase in demand[xv]. While NBJ predicts a relatively modest 5% growth rate in 2021, the market is now permanently above $5 billion. Last year, ingredients such as elderberry, vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc, which have long been linked to immune health benefits, garnered a lot of attention.
Almost all of the top growth ingredients for 2021 into 2022 have elements of immunity associated to them, however multi-benefit formulations appear to be gaining traction recently. Sales of combination formulas grew by 24.7% in 2020 compared to 11.5% for single herb supplements, according to the American Botanical Council (ABC).[xvi]
In addition to conventional supplements, many new supplement formats, together with functional foods and beverages are increasingly being marketed with immunity claims. New product introductions in sports nutrition, digestive health, mood and sleep, healthy aging, and several other key nutraceutical categories emphasized immune health advantages over the past year. Simultaneously, traditional products were being reformulated or remarketed with immune health claims, either as a result of additional benefits or the addition of new ingredients.
Many multi-ingredient solutions in the immune health area will continue to rely on familiar ingredients, with well-established health benefits, as key components. As such, botanical ingredients will likely also continue to show growth over the next year. Mintel recently reported that consumer interest in natural ingredients has led to growing interest in botanicals with immune health benefits[xvii].
The trend toward expanding immunity options means opportunities for brands who may want to develop a new product or make an addition to an existing product to meet this significant demand for immunity benefits.
One trend that accelerated as a result of the pandemic is the demand for mental health supplement options. According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), sales of mood and mental health supplements in the United States hit $1.2 billion in 2020, up 29.4%, and are expected to grow 10-12% through 2024. Currently, eight in 10 Americans say that good mental/emotional health and getting enough sleep are important contributors to overall health – more than exercise (55%), according to HealthFocus International. Additionally, the Hartman Group has reported that approximately half (53%) of consumers are treating or trying to prevent anxiety or stress in their household.
Nearly half of supplement users (43%) reported changing their supplement routine since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the 2020 Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) COVID-19 Consumer Survey. Of these consumers, 91% reported increasing their supplement intake, with nearly a quarter citing mental health reasons as the main reason why.[xviii]
As a result, interest in mental health supporting ingredients, particularly for stress and sleep, have skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. According to FMCG Gurus, 66% of global consumers are interested in products which can improve sleep quality, while 58% have shown interest in products that can help alleviate stress.
As the market for sleep and stress products continues to grow, the segment is broadening. A variety of natural actives are now being used synergistically for improved mental health. Ingredients seeing increased sales include certain nootropics and adaptogens – and there has also been more interest in herbs and botanicals. One of the ingredients consumers are turning to is Ashwagandha. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps the body to resist or adapt to stress. Sales growth of ashwagandha in the mainstream channel increased 185% in 2020.[xix]
In 2022, the focus on mental health will not be going away. Consumers will continue to search for supplements to help with a wide range of mental health concerns and we should expect both an increase in the variety of ingredients and novel multi-ingredient products for 2022.
Pet Mirroring Human
The pet care market is rapidly evolving, estimated to be worth a whopping $232 billion globally in 2021, as pet ownership reached an all-time high over the course of the pandemic. In the US, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates the pet industry is worth a whopping $99 billion, with food and treats accounting for nearly $40 billion the market. [xx] An increase in pet ownership has led to increased focus on pet wellness and a move towards pet parents seeking healthier options for their furry family members. As a result, a rising number of pet owners are applying their human wellness standards to the products they purchase for their four-legged friends. These consumers are increasingly pursuing ingredients and products that meet their pets’ needs, while matching their own values.
According to the APPA, about 11.4 million households added a new pet to their family during, and likely as a result of, the pandemic.[xxi] That number has most certainly risen since then. In fact, according to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of households currently own pets.[xxii] A growing portion of this population consider their pets as (human) family members, selecting food and treats based on their pets’ dietary restrictions or their own values and diet regimens.
Consequently, a growing number of pet food products are making “human grade” claims. Part of the reason for this may be the implication of better quality and safety, but it may also be the growing number of people spending more time with their pets after working-from-home significantly more. A Packaged Facts report identified that, “42% of dog owners and 43% of cat owners are paying closer attention to their pet’s height and weight; 23% of dog owners and 24% of cat owners are especially concerned about their pet’s anxiety/stress; and 20% of dog owners and 21% of cat owners are especially concerned about their pet’s immune system.”[xxiii] Sound familiar? These concerns are closely mirroring trends in the human health market.
There is a major trend in the pet food category towards humanization and premiumization – a sign that pets are becoming more and more an integral part of the family. Pet specialty foods, such as raw or vegetarian, are on the rise and reflect the wellness, health and ingredient transparency trends popular with pet owners.
In 2022, watch for continued growth in pet food and supplement sales that meet specialty diet keywords such as raw, vegan, plant-based, and protein – as well as an increased demand for human-grade functional ingredients.
[i] World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/health-topics/ageing#tab=tab_1
[ii] Innova Market Insights: “Editor’s Choice: Aging Well”, April 2021.
[iii] The NPD Group: “U.S. Consumers Are More Concerned with Sugar In Their Diets Than They Are Sodium”. https://www.npd.com/news/press-releases/2021/u-s-consumers-are-more-concerned-with-sugar-in-their-diet-than-they-are-sodium/
[iv] Mintel: “Mintel Expects Fibre and Next-Generation Stevia to Shake Up Sugar Reduction”
[v] FMCG Gurus. “Global & Regional – Active Nutrition Study – Q3 2019.” Published September 2019.
[vi] New Hope Network: “The Analyst’s Take: Is ‘Beauty From Within’ the trend to watch”, https://www.newhope.com/market-data-and-analysis/analysts-take-beauty-within-trend-watch
[vii] FMCG Gurus, Beauty From Within – Global Report – 2021, April 2021.
[viii] Innova Market Insights: “Editor’s Choice: Aging Well”, April 2021.
[ix] Wageningen University & Research: “Demand for sustainable products rising; supply increasing too”, https://www.wur.nl/en/newsarticle/Demand-for-sustainable-products-rising-supply-increasing-too.htm
[x] SPINS: “Unmasking a Year of Covid-19 Data”
[xi] Petfood Processing: “Consumer demand Driving Convenience, Sustainability in Pet Product Packaging”
[xii] Storebrands: “Packaging Report: Store Brands Set Sustainability Standard”
[xiii] Innova Market Insights: 11 Country Consumer Survey, 2021.
[xiv] FONA International: “Looking Forward: Food & Beverage Trends for 2022”
[xv] Nutrition Business Journal, 2021 Supplement Business Report.
[xvi] American Botanical Council (ABC). HerbalGram, “Herbal Supplement Sales in US Increase by Record-Breaking 17.3% in 2020”, http://herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/131/table-of-contents/hg131-mkrpt/
[xvii] Mintel. “Health Ingredients to watch in 2022” Vitafoods Presentation, October 2021
[xviii] CRN: “CRN’s COVID-19 Survey on Dietary Supplements: Consumer Insights on Usage and Attitudes about Dietary Supplements in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic”
[xix] American Botanical Council (ABC). HerbalGram, “Herbal Supplement Sales in US Increase by Record-Breaking 17.3% in 2020”, http://herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/131/table-of-contents/hg131-mkrpt/
[xx] Common Thread: “Pet Industry Trends, Growth & Statistics in 2021 and Beyond: Unleashing Your Ecommerce Pet Marketing Strategies”
[xxi] American Pet Products Association, 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey.
[xxii] American Pet Products Association, 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey.
[xxiii] Packaged Facts, Pet Supplments in the U.S., 8th Edition. January 2021