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3 growing consumer trends shaping the new health paradigm

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Data measured by SPINS and categorized by NEXT Data and Insights shows how COVID-19 has prompted natural products shoppers to find new ways to take care of their bodies and minds.

Natural shoppers are no strangers to the importance of overall wellness—both in mind and body. Although the focus on being healthy in all aspects of life has been a mainstay of the natural products market, COVID-19 has added another dimension to the conversation.  This year, as consumers tried to stick their dietary preferences, avoid getting sick and cope with a uniquely stressful time, they were also redefining modern health.

The upcoming webinar “What's Next in Modern Health? Data and Insights from New Hope Network and SPINS” will look at how these trends have been growing over the years, how COVID-19 has affected them and what you can expect next. Join Kathryn Peters, executive vice president of business development for SPINS, and Eric Pierce, vice president of business insights for New Hope Network, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. EDT on Oct. 7 to learn more about what’s happening in modern health as part of the Spark Change online conference and expo.

Here’s a preview of just a few of the exciting consumer trends they’ll be discussing:

Understanding the endocannabinoid system

Although the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not entirely understood by researchers, they do believe that this complex system helps regulate our sleep, mood, metabolism, appetite, immune system responses and more. Many shoppers are eager to support or stimulate the body’s creation of cannabinoids through supplements and products containing CBDs, omegas and various ingredients focused on mood and sleep. Shoppers are particularly interested in CBD products that help with “the entourage effect,” which occurs when CBD and other compounds combine to boost the effects of the ECS.

As a result, certain products are showing stronger growth and popularity with customers than others. Looking at SPINS data in both conventional and natural channels over the past 12 weeks, we find that:

  • Shelf-stable CBD-infused water is up 52% as shoppers continue to find value in price-friendly, accessible entry points into the CBD market.
  • Mood-focused herbal formulas are up 98% as shoppers look to reduce the effects of stress and its negative impact on the ECS.
  • Two subcategories closely associated with high omega content are showing strong growth; seafood is up 32% and grass-fed meat is up 28%.

Sugar gets vilified

A sweet tooth is the Achilles heel for many shoppers, and for years popular diets have encouraged them to avoid sugar. Even before the pandemic disrupted our daily lives, shoppers were already rethinking their sugar consumption, thanks in large part to keto and Whole30 diets. When one factors in that underlying conditions (such as diabetes and obesity) can worsen the health outcomes of COVID-19, one can see why sugar alternatives and new sweetener options are growing in popularity this year.

Some customers are opting to avoid sugary products or are reading labels to ensure there is no added sugar in items like condiments or plant-based milk. That doesn’t mean they’re saying goodbye to dessert, however. They are instead gravitating to innovative products featuring natural, low-calorie sweeteners.

Looking at the last 52 weeks of sales in regional grocers and natural outlets, it is apparent that products containing other sweeteners are benefiting: items with monk fruit are up 23%, with sugar alcohols are up 8% and with stevia is up 2%. These ingredients are also driving growth in nut and seed butters, fruit spreads, teas and coffees. Shoppers are still enjoying their favorite foods and beverages, and brands that are finding innovative ways to lower their products' sugar content are reaping the benefits.

2020 brings on the quest for rest

In much the same way shoppers are focusing on the ECS to feel better and more relaxed, they are also finding new ways to get their full eight hours of nightly rest. Thanks to an extremely eventful and stressful year, sleep remedies have experienced a further boost on top of already strong growth trends. Vitamins, supplements and herbal formulas are becoming go-to items for consumers wanting to get a good night’s sleep.

Over the past 52 weeks, sleep remedies overall are up 39%; over the last 12 weeks they are up 41%. Digging deeper we see that herbal formulas are the preferred sleep aid, as they’ve grown 65% over the last 12 weeks. Miscellaneous supplements—driven by the popularity of melatonin products—might not be showing quite as much growth, but they have seen a very healthy 40% rise in the same time period.

Natural Products Expo Spark Change logoThe webinar "What's Next in Modern Health? Data and Insights from New Hope Network and SPINS" will take place during the Spark Change Modern Health Community Event on Oct. 7, 2020, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Click here to sign up for Spark Change.

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