Lakewood, Colorado-based Natural Grocers has released its sixth annual Top 10 Nutrition Trends predictions, a composite of the most anticipated health, nutrition and food trends for the coming year.
The predictions focus on long-term health and well-being. Developed by the company’s team of health and wellness experts in collaboration with their purchasing and analytics teams, they are a mix of the most anticipated health, nutrition and food trends for 2022 including healthspan, sensible indulgences, functional flavors, pet nutrition and saying goodbye to burnout.
To accurately pinpoint the 2022 predictions, Natural Grocers’ Nutrition Education team, consisting of health and wellness experts ranging from registered dietitians to certified natural foods chefs, collaborated with the retailer’s purchasing and analytics teams. Together, these specialists studied consumer-shopping preferences, pored over the latest research and assessed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on communities to predict these rising and shifting trends.
“As we look back at another year in which our communities have felt the obvious and hidden effects of a global pandemic, there is no denying that people are changing how they approach their health,” said Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers’ manager of scientific affairs and nutrition education. “People are considering how their everyday choices affect their long-term health, and our trends for the coming year reflect how those decisions are intricately tied together to shape our wellbeing and our ability to thrive and flourish.”
Natural Grocers’ Top 10 Nutrition Trends for 2022
- From Lifespan to Healthspan – With a growing realization that healthspan, the years of life in which we are healthy and free of disease, is as important as lifespan, in 2022, we will focus not only on how long we can live, but also on how healthy we can live those years. This will look like supporting health with diet, lifestyle and supplements not in mid- to late age, or only when a health issues arises, but throughout our lives. We can maintain good health at any age by modulating inflammation in the body, supporting healthy blood sugar balance, reducing free radicals, supporting immune resilience and maintaining liver health, a major, but often overlooked, cornerstone of health. The new year will bring an increasing awareness of healthspan, as well as an increased demand for foundational supplements like a multivitamin, B complex, magnesium, vitamins C, D, and E, lecithin, milk thistle, and lutein.
- Supporting Immunity Becomes a Daily Practice – This trend is making an appearance on the list two years in a row. In 2022, we will continue to give our immune system the nutrients it needs to function optimally – on a daily basis. Immune resilience is about training the immune system to always be at its peak performance, much like building muscles for fitness.
- Our Pets Get Healthy Too – Pet ownership skyrocketed during the pandemic. As pet owners become increasingly conscious pet parents, there will be a continued increase in the demand for organic pet food and treats. Pet owners will also continue to demand food that’s free from common allergens like corn, soy, and wheat and will look to supplements that support anxiety, digestion, and joint health.
- Women and BIPOC-Owned Health & Wellness Businesses Will Continue to Shine – Women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) have always been an integral part of the entrepreneurial backbone of this country, and the health and wellness space is no different. This industry is growing exponentially, and with that growth, more women and BIPOC-owned businesses will bring their expertise, creativity and knowledge to the mix.
- Pollution Nutrition – It is estimated that air pollution leads to at least seven million deaths worldwide every year. Exposure is associated with asthma and lung dysfunction, neurological damage, heart disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. Not to mention, it significantly reduces healthspan (see trend No. 1). Air pollution is recognized as a serious health hazard and it is important to protect our bodies from its negative health effects. Conventional agriculture also is being recognized as a major source of air pollution and that food choices can have an impact on improving air quality. Enter the idea of pollution nutrition. In 2022, it will be a priority to make food choices to minimize air pollution from agricultural sources like CAFOs and conventionally farmed crops. This includes choosing regeneratively-raised animal products and buying USDA-certified organic products as often as possible. Also prioritize fortifying our bodies against pollution by optimizing foundational nutrients like the omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidant vitamins C and E, as well as super nutrients like sulfurophane, all of which have been shown to protect against the negative health effects of air pollution.
- Healthy Snacking & the Rise of “Sensible Indulgences” – The COVID-19 pandemic transformed snacking. Savory snacks, cookies and ice cream sales surged as people turned to snacks for comfort, but the pandemic also piqued people’s interest in finding snacks that feel indulgent, but are healthy. In 2022 there will be the continued rise of “sensible indulgences” that bring you joy while also maintaining your health and wellness goals.
- Triumph Over Burnout – Treating the physical symptoms of long-haul COVID has been a point of focus for scientists and physicians recently, but in the meantime, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of living through a pandemic. As the pandemic and all that comes with it continues to drag on, many are in a state of languishing burnout. Chronic stressors take a toll on mood and emotions, leading to feelings of depletion, exhaustion, irritability and cynicism. But in 2022, there will be an increased demand for adaptogens like rhodiola and cordyceps mushrooms, and nutrients like B1 (thiamin) and phosphatidylserine (PS) that help our bodies negate the harmful impact of stress. These nutrients have been shown to boost motivation, support energy and decrease fatigue while helping people flourish even when they experience stress. The stressors will always be there, but they won’t have such a grip and people will generally feel calmer, less pressure and lighter.
- A New Look at Metabolism – A new study published in the journal Science shows that metabolic rate doesn’t decline as once believed. Instead, metabolism plateaus from our 20s to our 50s and doesn’t decline until well into our 60s and 70s. In 2022 there will be an increased demand for products and lifestyle habits that help maintain metabolism by preserving muscle mass and supporting mitochondrial health. Supplements like branched-chain amino acids, acetyl-L-carnitine, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid will grow in popularity. Additionally, physical activities will shift toward healthspan-promoting exercises like yoga, strength training and walking, while mood-boosting exercises like forest bathing will continue to rise in popularity.
- Virtual Wellness Is Here to Stay – The COVID-19 pandemic launched the world into virtual everything: virtual therapy, virtual meetings, virtual school. Even when the pandemic is over, virtual wellness isn’t going away and people will continue to seek services they can access from home. Natural Grocers offers a free virtual nutrition health coaching session.
- Flavor Meets Function in the Kitchen – Herbs and spices long have been known to make food more flavorful, and now their health benefits are being realized. This is a trend on flavor that highlights the growing demand for functional ingredients, spices and herbs that increase both the flavor and nutritional value of favorite foods. In 2022, ingredients like cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, basil, thyme, sage and rosemary will take center stage in the kitchen, not just because they add wonderful flavor but because they are also chock-full of health-supportive properties.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. is an expanding specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. The products sold by Natural Grocers must meet high quality standards and may not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners, or partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils.
The company sells only USDA-certified organic produce and exclusively pasture-raised, non-confinement dairy products, and free-range eggs. The company also provides extensive, free, science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in 1955, Natural Grocers has 162 stores in 20 states.