Sleep, mental health, digital detox, femtech and probiotics
top the list of expected 2018 consumer health trends
Sleep quality, digital detoxes, the growing popularity of soup and the de-stigmatization of mental health issues are among the top consumer health trends expected to make headlines in 2018, according to a leading values-based nonprofit national research group affiliated with theAmusement Park advertising and PR agency of Santa Ana, Calif.
“We have continued to see healthy behavior expand beyond diet and exercise over the past decade and expect to see more attention paid to the mental aspects of health in the future” said Mark Weinfeld, director at The Values Institute (TVI), a Santa Ana-based social science research entity that released its 2018 trends report today.
TVI used observational studies to identify seven health and wellness trends that Americans are most likely to embrace in 2018. The compilation of this list is prepared by the Institute’s BalancedHealthy practice which focuses on the 79 percent of Americans that actively takes steps to improve or maintain their health. BalancedHealthy, in conjunction with CEB Iconoculture, developed the first of its kind segmentation study based on shared values rather than traditional usage and demographics.
TVI’s BalancedHealthy practice predicts these top seven consumer health trends to go from niche to mainstream in 2018.
- What’s Good for the Gut. The biggest trend that will see enormous growth in 2018 is attention and care for gut health. Foods and drinks that are beneficial towards gastro-intestinal processing, such as nut milk yogurt and probiotic drinks, are becoming more mainstream. The popular probiotic drink kombucha has seen sales increase 12 times over in the last 3 years, with frequent drinkers referring to themselves as riding the “booch bandwagon.” More than just a probiotic drink, however, kombucha is becoming more niche with a rising tide of small, craft brewers that are highlighting the artistry behind kombucha and dedicating themselves to product quality. Expect to see a lot more of this fizzy drink and other GI-healthy foods and drinks on the shelves of your local grocery store this year.
- Femtech. Cycle-tracking apps, fertility and contraception awareness, and pregnancy trackers are just some of the latest tech innovations that are helping women understand their bodies in a way that is more open, aware, and vocal than ever before. This new category of technology is already worth an estimated $1.1 billion and is expected to continue to grow immensely in 2018. New products such as Cora organic tampons and Intimina menstrual cups are shaking up a feminine product category that has remained relatively stagnant for years. Brands have recognized that the feminine health industry is ready for an upgrade, and consumers are more than ready to embrace these new products.
- Sleeping: The Next Competitive Sport. Whether they’ve read about sleep in health journals or have heard celebrity’s recipes to success, people know that they need to prioritize sleep in their health regimens. The big trend for sleep in 2018 is not just about getting enough sleep, but optimizing the hours they do get. Oils, weighted blankets, and an arsenal of technological devices are now available to help people improve their sleep. In fact, getting better sleep has almost become an athletic endeavor as people compete to get more out of their sleep. Sleep Number and Fitbit will give you a report in the morning to let you know how your sleep scored, aligning with the trend of not just counting the hours you get, but measuring your performance in the time available to you.
- Souping is the New Juicing. The trend of juicing came about a few years ago when people started getting creative with the way they got their daily dose of veggies. But as colder weather approaches each year, another option for getting your fill of veggies has been growing in popularity – soup. Soup recipes for 2018 will contain a lot of on-trend ingredients, such as ghee, turmeric, and bone broth. Zupa Noma sells “ready-to-sip” soups, while Los Angeles-based Brothee bottles broth and will even deliver to select areas in LA. Soup cleanses, often sold in kits like Splendid Spoon, are becoming more attractive to some as a lower level of fasting, providing more sustenance and variety than a juice cleanse without all the sugar.
- Digital Detox No Longer Just About Vacations. With the inundation of smart phones into nearly every area of life, digital detoxes are no longer just a cool thing to do – they’re perceived as downright impressive. Engaging in a “social cleanse” is a feat not easily accomplished, and people that can hold out for days (or even hours) without their phone receive high social praise. Restaurants and hotels have gone so far as to advertise that they do not offer Wi-Fi, something that just a few years ago was a huge draw for people looking to link up while they were away from home. Eat Bar & Grill in the UK hosts a “tech-free date night” where once guests are seated they are instructed to drop their cellphones into a brown paper bag. So expect to see more WiFi-and phone-free zones popping up at your favorite restaurants, cafes, and hotels this year.
- A New “Top” for Ice Cream. While ice cream is not a new dessert trend, it’s certainly grown over the last few years to stay on par with the trend to go back to whole, natural foods. After the froyo craze of the 2000’s, people are still looking for low-calorie desserts with fresh ingredients, but they want them without anything artificial. Halo Top ice cream, which for a period in 2017 was actually out-selling ice cream giants Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s after a reported 2500-percent sales increase, has succeeded where other low-calorie ice creams did not because it is made with no artificial sweeteners. Their new spin on ice cream lets consumers experience the nostalgic aspect of eating dessert as they did when they were younger with ingredients that allow them guilt-free indulgence as an adult. Look for more frozen desserts to emerge that are lower in calories and made without artificial sweeteners.
- De-stigmatizing Mental Health in Media. 2017 saw an increase in the portrayal of mental health issues in mainstream media, from the two controversial Netflix series To the Bone and 13 Reasons Why, to The Good Doctor on primetime ABC. These three shows have received a mix of both praise and criticism, suggesting people want more of these issues brought to light in entertainment but that no one has quite gotten the execution right yet. Other mediums, such as the Man Therapywebsite or Happify app, have been well-received and address consumers’ desire to have stigmatized topics brought to light. We anticipate to see more of the stigma around mental health broken down through TV, movies, websites, and apps in 2018.
“These trends are consistent with the growing importance of health among Americans — we have seen the BalancedHealthy population grow from 76 to 79 percent since 2014” explained Weinfeld. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that health is the new social currency in this country – meaning that 9 out of 10 Americans would rather be seen by others as healthy versus wealthy.”
For details, go to The Values Institute website at http://www.thevaluesinstitute.org/.