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4 Facebook-identified trends shaping the global natural products industry

In its latest trends report, Facebook unveils how its users' attitudes, expectations and behaviors shifted from 2018 to 2019. Here are four findings that natural products professionals can use to their advantage.

Delve into The 2020 Topics and Trends Report From Facebook IQ and you'll quickly notice that natural is on the up-and-up. With consumers everywhere increasingly seeking out transparent, eco-conscious and clean brands in everything from food to skin care, it's clear that professionals in the natural products industry already have a leg up on the competition. 

Below are four of the report's most pertinent trends to natural businesses across the globe.

1. Gut health takes center stage (Australia)

Research on the gut-brain connection continues to flourish, and this has led to an upsurge in consumption of both fermented and high-fiber foods—particularly in the wellness mecca that is Australia. Health-minded Australian citizens are reportedly "viewing the gut as a gateway to overall health," and products such as kefir, kimchi and chickpea and lentil-based pasta are flying off shelves.

2. Apps that screen ingredients get more thorough (France)

Apps that easily identify certain problematic ingredients in products are becoming more prevalent as shoppers worry about unwittingly ingesting harmful chemicals. The most popular French app of this nature reports that its users are scanning over 2 million items per day for nutrient, antioxidant and pollutant contents. Such tools will continue getting more advanced, meaning the days of consumers basing their purchases on branding alone are about to be over for good.

3. Meat alternatives and flexitarian lifestyles are thriving (Germany and the U.S., respectively)

Germany's meat-centric cuisine is being swiftly replaced by vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives because of the country's extraordinarily high number of vegetarian residents. According to a recent survey, 20% of Germans under the age of 24 reported that they had purchased meat alternatives within the past few months. Stateside, Facebook saw a similar trend, noting an increase in vegetable-centric diets that don't necessarily cut out meat altogether. Occasional indulgence in high-quality animal products appears to be the new norm for many health-conscious Americans.

4. There's a harsher spotlight on waste in the fashion industry (Sweden and the U.K.)

Thrift shopping and exchanging clothing via one's smartphone is the next big thing for younger shoppers in the U.K. Convenience is key here, because while normal thrift shopping can often be a hit-or-miss experience, finding desirable, used items in the right size is simple using these apps' pre-existing filters. Over in Sweden, shoppers are supporting up-and-coming brands that tout their sustainable sourcing practices. "Slow fashion" garments made from high-quality materials made to last are being bought in place of fast-fashion articles of clothing that contribute "astronomical" levels of carbon, water and plastic waste each year.

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