Four Themes Shaping Natural, Organic & Wellness

By Aaron Skelton

Being the association that represents all things natural, organic and wellness, we’re lucky to get to bear witness to many different facets of the industry – from great new brands to consumer insights to what’s happening at retail, we’re uniquely positioned to be the eyes and the ears of this industry and what is happening next. 

As we head out of another challenging period, many of us have a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper appreciation of what truly matters to us ─ for our mind, body, and planet. We are more open to new possibilities and excited to explore new experiences. We know what we want and are not afraid to chase after it. 

This April, we are heading back to Vancouver for our first live event in two years, CHFA NOW. One of the highlights for our team at the show is always trend hunting and searching out the greatest new products.

What do we think is going to win big? These are the themes we’re excited to see come to life on the show floor through innovative products, packaging, and communications.

Four Themes Shaping Natural, Organic & Wellness

Sustainability

For those in the West, 2021 was an acute reminder that the climate is changing – we need to act, and we need to act now. Across Canada, the sentiment is the same, with the majority of Canadians agreeing that “climate change feels increasingly relevant to their day to day lives.”1 

Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that their dietary choices have on the planet – in fact, 78 per cent of Canadian’s report that they are “willing to try foods that benefit the environment.”1 In the coming years, expect to see a growing segment of consumers looking to make purchase decisions that align with their beliefs on the world. Brands that show their commitment to improving how food is grown, produced, packaged, and sold are poised to win big. 

Despite increasing consumers savviness, the environmental impacts of packaging, supply chains and manufacturing are large and often complex. Mintel reports that carbon-neutral claims rank low as a purchase driver for sustainable products.1 Claims that are simple to understand and explain the impact of carbon footprint, fair trade, or highlight the ethical treatment of workers and animals will deliver greater brand trust. Consumers will want details on the efforts, so be prepared to back them up honestly and transparently with real facts and figures. Expect products that accelerate regenerative change (aka climate positive) to be increasingly sought after by sustainably minded shoppers. 

Mindful Joy

After cycles of lockdowns and the monotony of pandemic life, we’re all eager to experience something new. But in many ways, the past few years have shaped us – we’re not just craving hedonistic pleasure for the sake of it but rather looking to find joy and playfulness in everyday activities. Expect consumers to look for quality over quantity – brands should think like Mari Kondo – asking themselves honestly, does this “spark joy”?

So, where is the joy to be found? According to Mintel, joy will be found in products that have big flavours, great aromas, intriguing colours and unexpected textures.2 This is not the time to be boring – it’s the time to delight the senses and create memorable moments.

Surprise and delight consumers by creating unexpected flavour combinations or letting them explore a current favourite in a new format. As our nation becomes more multi-cultural, flavours that reflect our diverse makeup and tap into cultural backgrounds will win the hearts of many. Nostalgia also brings a sense of happiness and playfulness. Look for products that remind us of being a kid while meeting our more adult-minded health goals. 

The New Self Care

Where FOMO (fear of missing out) once dominated in our lives, now FOFO (fear of finding out) has taken hold. Collectively the state of the world has left us feeling more stressed out, burnt out and sleepless than ever before. 

This new self-care isn’t about living that Instagram perfect day full of all things #selfcare. It’s about finding the moments that have a real impact on your state of personal wellbeing and mental outlook.

For brands looking to tap into this trend, it doesn’t necessarily need to be ingredient-driven. Look at the language used in your claims and descriptors and aim to choose more inclusive words – what is “normal” anyway? Are there areas where you can inject a dose of positivity or camaraderie to help consumers feel more connected? And as more people use technology to monitor their health (both mind and body), expect to see more brands bridging the physical and the digital, creating communities and spaces where people feel welcomed, safe, and supported as they work towards their wellbeing goals.3 

Other trends to watch in this space include better-for-you comfort foods, connecting people with nature, and functional ingredients that help promote quality sleep or a deeper sense of relaxation.

Less is More

Frugal is the new black and it’s something to be celebrated. Yes, inflationary pressures may have us reconsidering purchases, but this trend is also born from our increasing desire to be more conscious of what we consume.

Don’t mistake frugality for an inexpensive price tag. Consumers are looking for efficacy and efficiency in the products they choose. They want results and are willing to pay for them if the value is there. 

Look out for more hybrid products (one product that does the work of two) that allow people to streamline their life. DIY and bespoke products will also be something to watch for as people look to tailor the products they use to their specific needs and wellness goals.

Aaron Skelton

Our world has shifted at an incredible pace these past two years – how consumers think, their values and the products they seek are no exception. After being away from our community for so long, we’re excited to get back to our live events this April. We’re looking forward to all the incredible innovation that the natural, organic and wellness industry has created. We hope you can join us as we break down more trends and industry insights through our conference programming and trend hunting from the show floor. 

Aaron Skelton is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA).

References:

  1. Sustainability in Food – Canada – 2022. Mintel. February 2022.
  2. What the 2022 consumer trends mean for food and drink. Mintel. January 2022.
  3. Fjord Trends 2022. Accenture. Accessed Online, February 2022: https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-169/Accenture-Fjord-Trends-2022-Full-Report.pdf#zoom=40

-30-

Check Also

Lessons Learned From Empty Shelves

There’s a principle taught to engineering students: If you want to see how something works, …