What to Expect in 2021: 5 Themes for Natural and Wellness Trends That Will Shape the Industry

January 7, 2021
by David

5 Themes that Will Define Natural and Wellness Trends in 2021

As we kick off a new (and hopefully better) year, our experts will be sharing the natural and wellness trends that will drive shopper behavior in 2021. To set the stage, we’ve put together 5 major themes that we’ll be unpacking over the next several weeks.

Some of these themes are beginning to emerge thanks to pioneering natural and wellness brands, retailers, and shoppers; while others are moving into the mainstream and will take center stage across the industry. 

The CPG industry trends across these themes aren’t popping up overnight, either. Our SPINS experts have looked at historical data, had conversations with brands and retailers, and monitored evolving shopping behavior. These themes are defined by the trends that will guide the industry and affect brands and retailers of all sizes. 

Realistic Dietary Habits

With shoppers wanting to eat well while remaining focused on staying in good health (especially as the pandemic continues and lockdown weight gain is top of mind), they will be looking for dietary habits that fit their lifestyles.

Balanced diets that emphasize overall wellness rather than deprivation will resonate with shoppers as they look to enjoy their favorite foods but feel good about intermittent dietary changes. Functional snacks easily fit into this mindset, as they allow shoppers to satisfy their cravings with foods filled with rich ingredients, such as protein cookies. 

Another way shoppers will adapt their diets to their lifestyle is by relying on DIY meal kits that take minimal effort to prepare but still provide a balanced, nutritious meal at home. For today’s shoppers, balance is key.  

“Last year shoppers doubled down on their health-focused behavior and established long-term habits that are reshaping the way they buy. For example, increasingly popular options such as functional snacking and home meal kits let shoppers stick to their nutritional goals without spending extra time in the kitchen or yo-yo dieting. We’re excited to explore the trends and more to help brands and retailers meet customer expectations.”

Jeff Crumpton
Retail Solutions Manager, SPINS

“Plant-based diets have been on a multi-year growth trajectory, and this year looks like the perfect setting for more upward growth thanks to shoppers appreciating the health and environmental benefits of plant-based items and the industry’s many innovations. When we look at where the plant-based category is going this year, we’re talking about new snacking items, products that can help meet macronutrient goals, and staples such as seafood and cheeses. It’s an exciting space and time for plant-based retailers and brands.”

Jacob Knepper
Retail Solutions Manager, SPINS

Plant-Based Innovation

Plant-based products have been on a steady rise in recent years, due in large part to shoppers cutting back on animal products and brands introducing exciting new offerings.

This accelerated innovation will continue to thrive as shoppers take notice of what’s available throughout the store: plant-based jerky, seafood alternatives, and even supplements not sourced from animals, such as collagen and D3.

This year, plant-based will gain popularity outside of the typical produce and frozen departments and catch the eye of shoppers unaware of the breadth of options available. 

Alcohol With a Twist of Wellness

Just because shoppers are sticking to healthful diets doesn’t mean they are ready to give up their libations. Wellness-focused shoppers are eager to choose alcohol products that are a little lighter on the calories or offer other benefits.

This shift can lead to hard kombuchas with functional ingredients, smaller packages where serving sizes are not as calorie-heavy, or non-alcoholic drinks that bring the same flavor but with enhanced ingredients. So, as Virtual happy hours remain a regular occurrence on Outlook calendars, remote workers will be reaching for healthier cocktails and mocktails this year. 

Responsible Body Care

Shoppers are concerned about their well-being and that of the planet. Unsurprisingly, shoppers are just as concerned with what goes on their skin as they are about the food and drink they put in their bodies, which is why natural ingredients derived from superfoods will feature prominently in make-up and body care products.

You will also see an increased focus on eco-friendly body care products that have minimal effects on the environment and animals, whether from their ingredients list or packaging. For shoppers, wellness doesn’t end with their own health.

Food as Medicine

As we saw last year, shoppers are making the most out of every bite by considering their well-being in every item they buy. This trend will only grow with the increasing popularity of supplements, functional ingredients that promote mental health, and CBD’s integration into products throughout the store. As health remains top of mind for shoppers, especially as the pandemic continues, they will rely on food as medicine. 

Another Unusual Year?

If last year taught us anything it’s that shoppers stuck by their preferred lifestyles and diets while also adapting to the new reality they were suddenly thrown into.

While day-to-day life changed dramatically for many people—from working remotely to ordering groceries online—their focus on wellness-focused products remained strong.

Over the next few weeks, SPINS Market and Product Intelligence experts will be diving deeper into these natural and wellness trends to watch, so be sure to watch your inbox for alerts.