Five Health & Nutrition Trends to Watch in 2023
Five areas that deserve some extra attention this year
In 2023, consumers continue to recover from several years of upheaval, with views toward health and wellbeing – specifically mental health – shifting drastically. In the year ahead, this will remain important as consumers are also dealing with economic uncertainty. As a potential recession looms, consumers are considering ways to cut costs without compromising the quality and values they have become accustomed to. Despite all the difficulties, businesses and brands that comprehend where we are, and where we are headed have opportunities for success.
Looking forward, we have narrowed our focus to five areas that deserve some extra attention as 2023 takes shape.
|5 KEY HEALTH & NUTRITION TRENDS
Click on each trend to navigate to that part of the page.
Trust is a Must
In recent years, the health and nutrition market has seen a shift towards greater trust and transparency. Consumers strive for meaningful connections with the products they purchase. As such, they are becoming more concerned with the quality and origin of the products they use, and as a result, are looking for companies that are transparent about their ingredients, manufacturing processes, and ethical practices. Driven by a broadening understanding of wellness, and an increasing awareness of the impact of food and dietary supplements on health, trust and transparency have become increasingly important.
Due to the growing consumer demand, many companies are taking steps to increase transparency and build trust. This includes providing detailed information about their products and their production processes, using high-quality and sustainably sourced ingredients, and being transparent about their business practices and ethical standards. Some companies are also investing in technology and innovations that help to improve the quality and safety of their products, such as using blockchain technology to track products from source to shelf or DNA sequencing technology to provide evidence-based transparency on their ingredients.
This trend is a positive development for both consumers and companies. By building trust, companies can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, and in turn consumers can be assured that they are purchasing products that are safe, effective, and produced in an ethical and sustainable manner.
Already, the health and nutrition industry has seen positive results as companies have focused on providing reliable information supporting the efficacy and safety of their products, which has led to strong consumer trust. In fact, CRN’s 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that consumers have a high level of trust in the dietary supplement business, with over three quarters (77%) of consumers perceiving the industry as trustworthy. The percentage among supplement users was even higher, at 84%.[i] Additionally, recent research by FMCG Gurus found that 42% of global consumers have become more trusting of environmental claims made by products and brands in the past two years.[ii]
One ingredient group that seems to have an edge when it comes to trust and transparency is botanicals. Recent research by Nutrition Business Journal found that of the consumers who purchase herb and botanical supplements, 58% of them believe supplements are safer than over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.[iii] The reason consumers trust botanicals could be attributed to their traditional use through the years. As a result, botanicals have seen substantial growth as functional ingredients – specifically in the active nutrition category.[iv]
More recently, the pet nutrition market has also seen a significant increase in demand for transparency and accountability. As pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of high-quality and nutritious ingredients for their furry friends, there has been a rise in demand for pet nutrition products made from natural and organic ingredients. This in turn has led to a greater emphasis on product labeling and transparency in the manufacturing process. With the availability of more information and resources online, pet owners are now better equipped to make informed choices about their pet’s diet. Brands are also responding to this trend by offering greater transparency in their supply chains.
This overall shift towards trust and transparency has led to more educated and confident consumers – set to shape the industry for years to come. Companies that embrace these values and take steps to increase transparency and build trust are likely to be the ones that succeed in this rapidly changing and competitive market.
| KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Health on a Budget
It’s not entirely surprising that after 2 years of global disruption, the economy is now taking a hit. The question is, how will that affect the health and nutrition industry in the 2023?
This isn’t the first time the supplement industry has weathered through an economic slump. In fact, the health and nutrition industry has been shown to be one of the most resilient industries in times of economic uncertainty. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic and the resulting economic turmoil, the industry has continued to show growth and stability – even as consumer confidence wains.
Currently 57% of global consumers lacked confidence in the current state of the global economy, according to FMCG Gurus – and expenses are top of mind. As a result, the majority of consumers surveyed (63%) stated that they were looking to reduce spending on food and drink. Similarly, Innova Market Insights reported rising food and beverage prices were a top concern for consumers – with 1 in 2 consumers globally agreeing that cost and value for money have become more important over the course of the last year.[v]
Although price is a dominating concern, consumers continue to focus on health. In fact, a recent Innova consumer survey found that consumers rate “health” (41%) as the most important driver of product development. This was followed by “affordability” (31%) in second place.[vi] As consumers focus on health and affordability through this year, there is opportunity for companies to innovate on product development – focusing on product value and multi-functionality.
| KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Another trend accelerated by the pandemic has been the significant shift in the way people perceive and understand health and wellness. According to HealthFocus, almost 2/3 of U.S. adults are more focused on their health than a year ago.[vii] As a result, knowledge and attitudes surrounding what you eat and the effects it has on overall well-being continue to evolve. In turn, consumers aren’t turning away from making healthy choices – rather, they are expecting more.
The shift in people’s views of what health and wellness means to them has resulted in consumers starting to take a more holistic approach to their overall well-being. Gone are the days when people only associated health with physical fitness. Today, consumers are considering mental and emotional health as important components of their overall health and wellness. As a result, they are increasingly recognizing the need to address stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. This shift has also led to an increased focus on the role of nutrition and lifestyle in maintaining good health. Consumers are now looking for natural and holistic alternatives to traditional medicine to maintain their well-being.
A major part of the evolving understanding of health and wellness is a focus on prevention versus treatment. This is particularly the case in places where accessing a treatment from the traditional medical system may be cost prohibitive. A study by IRI, found that 37% of Americans believe food (and ingestibles) is better medicine than medicine, with 54% of people stating they’d purchase healthier food as part of a healthier lifestyle.[viii] The Hartman Group, tracking conditions that Americans are trying to prevent, found that anxiety/stress is the top condition where prevention is being pursued by 39% of households.[ix]
Consumers want to get the most they can from their healthy choices and are looking for maximum functionality. According to Nutritional Outlook, there is growing demand for products and food items that target multiple dimensions of wellness. Consumers are becoming savvier about nutrition and more proactive in their healthcare and are looking for ways to boost their health through functional foods or supplements – combining ingredients for synergistic benefits.[x]
With more healthy options being considered, consumers are also looking for innovations in format. Gummies have seen some growth in recent years for people with pill fatigue, but capsules still dominate in supplements. Looking ahead, a growing amount of share in the supplement market may feature new formats like mouth sprays, beverage shots, stick packs and topicals as consumers look for ease of use.[xi] Younger generations in particular want their functional foods or supplements to feel more like a treat rather than a chore.
An increasing consumer focus on prevention and staying healthy is an exciting trend going forward. With consumers becoming more conscious of their overall health and wellness, opportunities exist for companies providing products and services focusing on efficacy, multi-functionality, and innovative formats. As this trend continues to evolve, companies that understand the changing landscape will be well positioned for success.
| KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Mind Over Matter
Mental health has continued to be growing concern in recent years – with 9 out of 10 adults believing there is a mental health crisis, according to Neilsen data.[xii] With a growing recognition of the importance of mental well-being, individuals are becoming more aware of the impact that mental health can have on their overall health. As a result, there has been an increase in consumers seeking products to address issues such as sleep, anxiety and stress.
The pandemic and recent economic uncertainty have helped to fuel this trend creating new and unprecedented stressors and challenges. As a result, there has been a significant increase in mental health concerns. A 2022 survey by the American Psychological Association found that the majority of U.S. adults (75%) have experienced health impacts due to stress, including headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Of those surveyed, 70% of adults stated that health care is a significant source of stress in their lives.[xiii] This impact has highlighted the importance of addressing mental well-being and led to an increase of consumers seeking means of support.
As a result, mental health products targeting mood, sleep, and stress support – including focus and general cognitive function – continue to experience strong growth. According to SPINS data, sales of sleep, stress and mood support supplements in the mass and natural channels accounted for almost $140 million from February 2021-2022, compared with $79.2 million for the same period in 2020-2021.[xiv]
With the increasing demand for mental health supplements, the industry is expected to continue to expand and evolve, providing more options to address mental health needs. As consumers increasingly become aware of the benefits of the various ingredients and products that address mental health, the demand for these products will continue to grow.
| KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Waste Not, Want Now
Sustainability is no longer something on the horizon – it is now expected as part of product attribute basics. However, the ways brands position their sustainability claims are taking different forms. One of those is upcycling, defined by the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), as foods using ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, procured, and produced using verifiable supply chains, that have a positive impact on the environment.[xv]
Recently there has been increased attention on upcycling as consumers strive to increase their sustainability efforts. According to the UFA, interest is high with 62% of consumers indicating willingness to pay more for a product that prevents waste.[xvi] While it may be early days for upcycling as a movement, sales are increasing, along with online searches – reported to have grown 128% between 2021 and 2022.[xvii] According to SPINS data, between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022, there was a 1,046% growth in upcycled certified products in the natural retail channel, and 400% growth in the conventional retail channel.[xviii]
The move towards more sustainable, environmentally friendly choices does not just apply to what consumers buy for themselves – they also tend to apply their values to what they buy for their pets. According to NielsenIQ data, pet products claiming to have recycled packaging has grown 40% in the past 2 years, accounting for US $14.4 million in sales.[xix]
While upcycling is seeing strong growth, it is still in the early stages of adoption. According to the UFA, 70% of consumers indicate they intend to buy upcycled products, but not until they understand them.[xx] Some work will have to be done on the part of brands to educate consumers on the benefits of upcycling.
With the expectation of sustainability put on products, upcycling is becoming an exciting new way to meet those expectations.
| KEY TAKEAWAYS:
[i] Council for Responsible Nutrition, 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 2022
[ii] FMCG Gurus, Route to Sustainability Report, 2022
[iii] Nutrition Business Journal, Herbs & Botanicals Special Report, 2022
[iv] HealthFocus. 2022. Global Consumer Survey.
[v] Innova Market Insights, “Top Ten Trends for 2023”
[vi] Innova Market Insights, “Top Ten Trends for 2023”
[vii] HealthFocus. 2021. Global Consumer Survey.
[viii] IRI, “The Future of Food: Five Consumer COVID Trends That Are Here to Stay”
[ix] Hartman Group. 2019. Health + Wellness 2019: From Moderation to Mindfulness. www.hartman-group.com
[x] Nutritional Outlook, “2023 Nutrition Trends”, Jan. 9, 2023
[xi] Foundery5, “Top Supplement Format Trends Among Consumers”
[xii] NeilsenIQ Annual Shopper Health Study, 2022.
[xiii] American Psychological Association, Stress in America 2022 Survey.
[xiv] Nutraingredients USA, “Mood support supplements sales surge with novel microbiome opportunities”
[xv] Upcycled Food Association, “About Upcycled Food”.
[xvi] Nutraceuticals World, “The Meteoric Rise of Upcycled Foods”
[xvii] Food & Beverage Insider, “Upcycled ingredients for a circular food economy”
[xviii] Nutraceuticals World, “The Meteoric Rise of Upcycled Foods”
[xix] Petfoodindustry.com, “Sustainable food, pet food claims follow consumer demand”
[xx] Food & Beverage Insider, “Upcycled ingredients for a circular food economy”