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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Trend: Consumers find joy through empowerment

Jason Schneider Illustration Trend: Holistic health and wellness
As consumers increasingly take control of their health, they turn to supplements and functional foods and beverages that support their quest for wellness.

The word “trend” is a tricky one. It implies not only what’s happening now—what tendencies are driving consumers and where they’re putting their dollars—but also what the market should consider for the future of manufacturing, stocking, merchandising and more.

We at New Hope Network believe it’s critical to explore the “why” behind trends. (Yes, we too have been guilty of the occasional trend-spotting foible over the years: Spirulina lavender 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 as “Purpose-driven Commerce,” “Holistic Health and Well-being” 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’s editors, who provide in-depth commentary on 10 newer, still-emerging trends, as well as their market manifestations from Natural Products Expo East exhibitors. These trends provide a glimpse of where the market is going and which trends we predict will continue to shape it in the future.—Adrienne Smith

An omnipresent theme in the natural products industry is packaged in a tiny yet impactful word: joy. Optimizing health—from focusing on wellness to having fun with food to making your own decisions about what goes in or on your body—puts power back into the hands of the consumer. And as people strive to regain control of their lives, happiness and love have become intrinsically linked with empowerment, a message embraced by a range of supplement and functional food and beverage companies that are delivering health results, while establishing an emotional bond with their customers.

This concept is nothing new; New Hope Network conducted research prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that proved the power of empowerment messaging. The study, which aimed to identify the most impactful supplement industry communication strategies, revealed that this message resonated with the most consumers: I want to take control of my health. Health is very personal—and I deserve to be empowered to make decisions about the most important aspect of my life.

 Still, the pandemic and current social and economic circumstances have elevated empowerment’s importance among increasingly weary consumers. Sure, indulgence can spark joy, but perhaps of greater influence is the satisfaction that comes from being your own guide on your wellness journey. As a result, companies are using messaging such as “inner love,” “good vibes” and “radiant glow” to communicate the benefits of products such as immune shots, energy snacks and beauty chocolates. This approach delivers both a positive message and a joyful experience to consumers at a time when they need it most.

 Joy through empowerment | Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company |  FX Chocolate Radiant Skin, Hair, and Nails Formula

FX Chocolate Radiant Skin, Hair, and Nails Formula For beautifying benefits in a simple square of chocolate packed with high-potency botanicals. SRP: $20.00  Booth: 1512

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company Aura Holistic Juice, Good Vibes This juice blends blood orange with strawberry and ashwagandha for a sweet addition to the functional beverage category that emanates positivity. SRP: $4.99 Booth: 2218

 

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