New report reveals mental well-being as top health trend impacting food and supplement choices

The HMT (Healthy Marketing Team), a global brand-building agency specialising in food and health, has released an annual report looking at what will impact consumer choices of food and health products in 2022. The report highlights mental well-being as the overarching trend with manifestations from across the globe in identified trending categories such as: food and supplements, sports nutrition, plant-based, and climate and self-care.

In food and supplements, there has been a shift from emphasising on one ingredient to the synergistic power of nutrients, the rise of microbiome therapeutics for mental well-being, and the surfacing of “vegourmet” experiences as plant-based dining that aim to help consumers feel good.

When it comes to climate, the word “eco-anxiety” is now commonly used to describe the state of severe anxiety due to climate change. The report shows a gap where brands can develop a safe space where even a little action counts and makes consumers feel accomplished towards their eco- consciousness.

In self-care, one of the trends is “it is ok not to be ok”. The report highlights an opportunity for products positioned as tools for combating everyday stress, anxiety, and mood swings.

In sports nutrition, the shift is towards a mental balance and sharp focus that goes beyond physical strength. Innovative ingredients to enhance performance and mental health, for both active lifestyle consumers as well as professional athletes, include CBD and microbiome modulators, will be key.

Global market observations and new consumer research

The report is a result of HMT’s market research across all continents and analysis of new product launches, as well as qualitative observations working with food and supplement companies in different parts of the world. The observation that mental well-being is growing more intertwined with consumers’ lifestyles, and their food choices led to a collaborative ethnographic research project with the master of applied cultural analysis at Lund University to explore consumer relations between food and mood. The study identified four new consumer narratives behind food/supplement choices related to mental well-being.

Peter Wennström, founder of The HMT, said: “The purpose of our analysis is to draw the industry’s attention to this shift from physical health to mental health which is THE Gamechanger for anyone working with food & health products and services. It means that brand and product developers must understand how to connect to today’s consumers not only with physical benefits and rational claims but also with emotional benefits. The value chain starts in the mind of the consumer– more so now than ever before.”