Health is no longer a desirable condition, it is a life-goal. Wellness has become a top priority, and is a driving force behind many every day consumer decisions – from food and drink, to beauty, household and leisure.
The past few years witnessed a retreat to ‘natural’. In a world awash with synthetic ingredients, questionable food chains, and harmful practises hidden behind a well-seeming exterior, natural became an uncomplicated shortcut to ‘good for me’. We applied a holistic approach to physical health and emotional wellbeing, swapping short-term fixes for lasting gains, and lapping up as much wholesome goodness as possible.
Sober morning raves, plant-based cleaning products and veganism for the mainstream at Pret
POWER ME UP!
But for many, ‘natural’ is no longer enough. With a focus on the long-term, holistic health consumers are becoming concerned that their very environments are unhealthy, hampering their efforts of achieving this goal. Consumers are now looking to turbo-charge their healthy lifestyle, triggering a growing openness to ‘science’ to help us out.
This is the coming together of Eastern and Western philosophies as an effect of globalisation, each influencing the other. Indeed, Western ‘science’ in medicine is moving East, offering speed and efficacy, while there is a huge interest in ‘wellness’, ‘prevention’, and ‘recovery’ over ‘cure’ – millennials are more likely to treat a cold with a remedy than a OTC medicine. These are ideologies that are more closely associated with an Eastern approach to life and health, as East also begins to influence West.
We’re now seeing a global convergence of both entities – with science becoming the key to harnessing and unlocking the full power of nature. Vitamins and supplements are re-branded with slick, aspirational packaging and tailored plans, while plant stem cells protect skin from urban pollution.
Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense mode filters impurities from the air, The Body Shop’s anti-pollution collection, Care/Of ships tailored vitamin packs determined by an algorithm
Functional ingredients and superfoods have long been popular, but with more recent scientific evidence on the role of the human microbiome, gut health is becoming a mainstream concern. Thanks to their digestive benefits, fermented foods kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and koji are having their moment in the limelight, while others are taking a more drastic approach to topping up their healthy bacteria – faecal transplant anyone?! Tipped to be the next trend in gut health.
It’s not just the food benefitting from science-strengthened naturals. The beauty industry has seen a rise in cosmeceuticals (cosmetics with pharmaceutical properties) which contain a big dose of ingredients that are ‘biologically active’. Similarly, nutricosmetics – beauty products you ingest rather than apply – promise everything from firmer skin to thicker hair.
Gut health at Leon, Dirty Lemon’s herbal extracts and magnesium glycinate reduce anxiety and aid sleep, Mychelle Dermaceuticals Deep Repair Cream is made with Kombucha
THE INTERNET OF FOOD
Consumers are already utilising wearables and apps to track, analyse and manage their health for a truly personalised view of wellness, and as we become better aware of our own bodies, we’re moving beyond personalised diets based on allergies and intolerances. With research into nutrigenomics – the study of how genes and nutrients interact – there is an increasing demand for tailored plans which tackle a range of modern day health issues, and help guide people towards their health goals.
New food technologies and on-the-go tools are making conditions such as diabetes and coeliac disease easier to manage by detecting the exact ingredients in dishes and products, solving issues around the transparency and legitimacy of product claims. Kitchens of the future are also leveraging technology to become joined-up nutritional hubs, while smart utensils such as HAPIfork stop eaters from scoffing too quickly.
DNAFit offers personalised diet and fitness programs via postal kit, Nima allows consumers to test if food is really gluten free, Nuffield Health’s blood events
HARNESSING THE POWER OF NATURE
The trends work we’ve done in this area suggests that natural alone is no longer going to be enough when it comes to health.
Consumers will be increasingly looking for healthy products with added functional benefits as they realise that nature alone doesn’t offer enough protection from the issues impacting negatively on our health. Particularly the issues outside of our control – pollution, the effect of ageing, or the 21st century lifestyles we choose to lead.
This comes at a time of global uncertainty. We know that during unsettled times, people look to the things they can control – and today there’s a feeling that health is something that we ought to be able to be in command of.
This presents an opportunity for brands that can harness the power of nature, supercharge its results, and help us take charge of our personal health and wellbeing.