Exploring ways to boost personal health through nutrition will play a crucial role for consumers next year, according to Natural Grocers' fifth annual Top 10 Nutrition Trends for 2021.
Natural Grocers' nutrition education team, made up of health and wellness experts ranging from registered dietitians to certified natural foods chefs, collaborated with the retailer's buyers and analysts, studied consumer-shopping preferences, examined the latest research, and scrutinized the impact COVID-19 has had on its communities in order to pinpoint their predictions for next year.
"Our trends this year are dramatically different than previous years' in that they're far less fleeting. COVID-19 is a pandemic that sits on top of another pandemic in the United States of malnutrition and poor long-term health," remarked Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers' manager of scientific affairs and nutrition education. "Hence, 2021 holds broader trends that focus on improving nutrition to support our own health, as well as the health of our communities and our environment."
Natural Grocers' Top 10 Nutrition Trends for 2021 are:
1. Consumer Health Is D-pendent on Vitamin D
This nutrient plays a critical role in whether or not the immune system functions sufficiently and responds as needed. It is essential for maintaining healthy lungs, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and bones. It also supports positive moods, brain function and cognition, a healthy weight, children's health and muscle tone. According to Natural Grocers, between 40 and 80% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D, while approximately 90% have suboptimal levels. Because darker skin hampers the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, supplementation is especially important for people of color.
In March, FDA introduced the “What’s In It For You?” initiative to help consumers use the new Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, which now includes required listings for vitamin D.
2. Everyday Immune Support for the Long Haul
Consumers have recognized the importance of "armoring up" and supporting their immune system on a daily basis so it can function optimally over the long haul. Dietary supplements can make daily, long-term immune support easier.
The COVID-19 outbreak prompted a big spike in sales of supplements supporting immune health. For example, according to SPINS data, the supplement industry in general saw double-digit increases in week-to-week sales unit percentages during each week in the entire month of March.
Boosting immune competence can come from basic nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc.
3. Better Blood Sugar Balance
Many options are available to support healthy blood sugar balance. More consumers will forego sugar-sweetened beverages, seek no-added sugar products, and try the keto diet. Adding supplements that support blood sugar balance will also be of interest — for example, alpha lipoic acid is well-known to support insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization. Balancing their blood sugar will allow consumers to benefit from a better mood, more balanced energy levels and overall long-term health.
4. De-Stressing in a Healthy Way
The pandemic has certainly pushed added stress onto American consumers. De-stressing is crucial for overall health and is specifically beneficial for immune health, as stress hormones like cortisol significantly impair the immune response.
According to Natural Grocers, consumers will look to de-stress with nutrients to support their body’s ability to better cope with stress. These include magnesium, EPA and DHA from fish oil, B vitamins, vitamin C, phosphatidylserine, curcumin and adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola.
Additionally, Acosta’s recent survey, conducted between June 12 and 17, offers ways that retailers can meet the needs of the new mentally and financially stressed consumer. The marketing agency suggested stressed-out shoppers will appreciate shopping opportunities that make them feel "back to normal."