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2021’s defining trends: Industry predicts propelled personalization, preventative care and planetary health

December 13, 2020
Consumer Packaged Goods

Immunity and a holistic approach to health and well-being are set to be some of the biggest themes for food and nutrition in 2021, according to industry predictions.

However, innovation in personalization and preventative health are likely to define success in the 2021 food industry scene, tapping into existing trends for healthy aging, convenience and customization.

NutritionInsight explores the 2021 food forecasts from Innova Market Insights, US supermarket retailer Natural Grocers and supplement provider Quicksilver Scientific.

Mighty immunity
Immune health is on all three companies’ radar, with Quicksilver Scientific and Natural Grocers ranking it as their first and second top-ranking trend for 2021, respectively.

“Ultimately, we feel this focus on immune health is for the better,” says Dr. Christopher Shade, founder and CEO of Quicksilver Scientific.

“Although it appears a vaccine for our current health crisis is right around the corner, fortifying your immune system through wellness practices makes one better prepared for immune challenges that may arise.”

Natural Grocers similarly aligns immune health with a preventative and holistic approach toward overall health and well-being.

“Rather than trying to boost immunity when we’ve already fallen victim to whatever bug is going around, we have recognized the importance of ‘armoring up’ and supporting our immune system on a daily basis so it can function optimally over the long haul,” says the company.

For Natural Grocers, the immune health trend is second only to “Our Health Is D-pendent on Vitamin D.” It spotlights how vitamin D deficiency influences respiratory, cardiovascular and bone health, again emphasizing a holistic approach to health.

Immunity ranks fifth on Innova Market Insights’ top trend list. Its Consumer Survey 2020 reveals six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health. One in three say that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019.

Accordingly, immunity NPD has been booming with recent launches coming from Unilever, Sensus and Nature’s Bounty, to name just a few.

Honorable mentions
Although generally falling under the health umbrella category, some food industry players’ trends are stand-alone predictions.

Natural Grocers ranks “Olive Oil Makes a Comeback” as its fifth top trend for 2021. While coconut oil has had a well-deserved reign in the spotlight, the retailer anticipates olive oil returning more prominently to supermarket shelves in 2021.

“Olive oil has always had a place in the ‘good fat’ category and has a well-known role in the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Its phenols and polyphenols contribute to its many nutrition superpowers, including its well-documented, anti-inflammatory activities,” says Natural Grocers.

“Need proof of this as a trend in 2021? Look no further than the snack aisles where you’ll see olive oil chips, popcorn and seaweed snacks.”

Meanwhile, Quicksilver Scientific envisions the functional beverages category to fulfill its potential further next year. Shade observes this trend will be propelled by consumers’ increasing interest in cannabinoid beverages and rejection of sugar-based, high-calorie drinks.

“Problems with inconsistent formulations, difficulties incorporating ingredients and lackluster sales have plagued the category. The key to success, manufacturers have discovered, is the emulsification method used to infuse ingredients into beverages. 2021 may be the year that changes the equation,” the company notes.

Recurring subjects
While some of the future-proof trends identified by Natural Grocers, Quicksilver Scientific and Innova Market Insights may deviate into specific sub-categories, there are noticeable overlapping themes.

Both Innova Market Insights and Natural Grocers predict personalization and climate change to drive industry innovation.

Innova Market Insights’ “Tailored to Fit” parallels Natural Grocers’ “Customized Fitness Nutrition” for the growing demand in the personalization sector. Recent product launches include customized stress relief snack bars called myAir and “biohacking” app Unfair.

A similar example of congruent trends is Natural Grocers’ “The Climatarian,” allying with Innova’s “Plant-Forward” trend, where the ever-evolving plant-based definition is expanding vegetarian and vegan NPD into the mainstream.

For any of these trends to grow, industry cannot fail to prioritize education. Quicksilver Scientific maintains that educating practitioners, consumers, media audiences and policymakers will continue to be a strong need in 2021.

“The more we learn, the more we discover there is more to be learned,” says the company – emphasizing that industry needs more than just research partnerships.

This year alone, industry has seen intensified action in integrating consumer feedback on developing on-pack health claims, scrutinizing ingredient contents and providing clinical evidence for product safety.

Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights, further detailed the market researcher’s Top Ten Trends for 2021 in a video with NutritionInsight.

By Anni Schleicher


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