The company’s Nutrition Education experts forecast 2022 to be a year centered on long-term health and wellbeing
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (November 18, 2021) – Today, Natural Grocers®, America’s Nutrition Education ExpertsSM, revealed its sixth annual Top 10 Nutrition Trends predictions, a composite of the most anticipated health, nutrition, and food trends for the coming year.
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,” remarked 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, which include healthspan, sensible indulgences, functional flavors, pet nutrition, and saying goodbye to burnout, also offer “Try This Trend” ideas for those who want to explore the trends for themselves.
NATURAL GROCERS’ TOP 10 NUTRITION TRENDS FOR 2022:
- From Lifespan to Healthspan
We all want a long lifespan, but what about healthspan, the years of life in which we are healthy and free of disease? While collectively we have been so focused on extending our lives, we have forgotten to prioritize making those years healthier. With a growing realization that healthspan 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. 2022 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.
TRY THIS TREND: If you are not already, start a basic supplement routine. If you need some guidance in cultivating a quality healthspan, make an appointment with your local Natural Grocers’ Nutritional Health Coach for a free consultation to start you on the right path. Don’t wait until you are in poor health to start taking care of yourself!
- Supporting Immunity Becomes a Daily Practice
This trend is making an appearance on our list two years in a row, because we’re all getting on board with daily immune support, and there’s no looking back. We know that getting sick is inevitable, but we’ve also come to understand that by nourishing our immune system every day, even when we aren’t sick, it will be primed and ready to go when the inevitable happens, making symptoms less severe and the duration shorter. 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 we would build muscles for fitness.
This daily strategy includes getting sufficient amounts of immune-building nutrients daily, like vitamin C, vitamin D, and quercetin, but also demands that we improve our diets by reducing sugar and industrial seed oils like corn, soy, and cottonseed, and stop being so sedentary to improve overall health, build immune resilience in the face of viruses like COVID-19, and extend our healthspan. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the role that comorbidities play in the severity of disease, and research has shown that people with poor liver health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome have poorer outcomes.
This is why in 2022 we will work to support our immune systems on a daily basis while also going back to the basics of nutrition and physical activity to help eliminate or mitigate comorbidities, improve overall health, and increase immune resilience.
TRY THIS TREND: Support your immune system’s resilience with a daily vitamin C supplement and vitamin D & K gummies and read about quercetin’s growing popularity for supporting immune health.
- Our Pets Get Healthy Too
Pet ownership skyrocketed during the pandemic, and just as we took an increased interest in supporting our own health and wellness over the last two years, pet owners are now applying the same high standards when shopping for their furry friends. As pet owners become increasingly conscious pet parents, we’ll see 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.
TRY THIS TREND: Treat your furry friend to a high-quality organic brand of food (just be sure to start slowly when changing pet foods by adding a little of the new food into the old each day reduce the chances of an upset stomach) and explore supplements for your pet’s specific needs.
- 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, we will see more women and BIPOC-owned businesses bring their expertise, creativity, and knowledge to the mix. In 2022, we will continue to highlight and support these businesses—which run the gamut from supplements to body care to natural foods.
TRY THIS TREND: There are so many wonderful women and BIPOC-owned companies to support. Some of our favorites (in no particular order) are Miyoko’s Creamery, Siete, Pop & Bottle, The Honey Pot, A Dozen Cousins, Biena, Me & the Bees Lemonade, Naturade, Nubian Heritage, and Pipcorn.
- 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 #1). We recognize air pollution as a serious health hazard, and now we are beginning to understand the importance of protecting our bodies from its negative health effects. We are also coming to realize that conventional agriculture is a major source of air pollution, and that our food choices can have an impact on improving air quality. Enter the idea of pollution nutrition.
In 2022, we will make it 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. We will 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.
TRY THIS TREND: If you eat animal products, transition to regenerative and pasture-raised products, and buy USDA organic for all food whenever possible. Protect yourself with supplements such as the omega-3s, a B complex, and sulfurophane.
- Healthy Snacking & the Rise of “Sensible Indulgences”
The COVID-19 pandemic transformed snacking. Savory snacks, cookies, and ice cream sales surged as we turned to snacks for comfort, but the pandemic also piqued our interest in finding snacks that feel indulgent, but are healthy. In 2022 we’ll see the continued rise of what we’re calling “sensible indulgences.” We all deserve our favorite foods and treats here and there, so test out and refine your 2022 snacking game with indulgences that bring you joy while also maintaining your health and wellness goals.
TRY THIS TREND: Some of our favorite snacks that are healthy and indulgent are our very own! Natural Grocers brand beef jerky, olives, popcorn, sliced cheese, and bulk nuts are our go-to snacks when we want something savory. Craving something on the sweeter side? Try Natural Grocers GORP Bites or bulk dried fruit. Or for something really indulgent, try a bowl of our frozen fruit topped with coconut milk.
- We’ll 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 of us are in a state of languishing burnout. We’re realizing that we can’t run from the things that stress us, but we are learning that we can support our ability to handle the things that stress us and triumph over burnout!
Chronic stressors take a toll on mood and emotions, leading to feelings of depletion, exhaustion, irritability, and cynicism. But in 2022, we’re going to bounce back and come back stronger than ever. We’ll see 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 us flourish even when we experience stress. The stressors will always be there, but they won’t have such a grip and we’ll generally feel calmer, less pressure, and lighter.
TRY THIS TREND: Explore the research on supplements like rhodiola, cordyceps mushrooms, B1, and PS to see which one is right for you.
- A New Look at Metabolism
We’ve long been taught that after our twenties, our metabolism begins its inevitable decline, and with that comes a difficult balancing act to avoid weight gain for the rest of our lives. However, a new study published in the journal Science shows that metabolic rate doesn’t decline as early as we thought. Instead our metabolism plateaus from our 20s to our 50s and doesn’t decline until well into our 60s and 70s.
This has caused a significant paradigm shift because it means we have so much more control over our metabolism than previously thought. But with this control comes responsibility. This is why in 2022 we’ll see 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 (BCAAs), acetyl-L-carnitine, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) will grow in popularity. Additionally, we will shift our physical activities toward healthspan-promoting exercises like yoga, strength training, and walking, while mood-boosting exercises like forest bathing will continue to rise in popularity.
TRY THIS TREND: Include healthy protein-rich recipes like this one in your diet and learn how to incorporate amino acid supplements into your exercise routine. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass, feel the ground beneath your feet, reconnect to the earth.
- Virtual Wellness Is Here to Stay
The COVID-19 pandemic launched our world into virtual everything: virtual therapy, virtual meetings, virtual school. Even when the pandemic is over, virtual wellness isn’t going away and we will continue to seek services that we’re able to access from the comfort of our homes. The only thing better than a virtual wellness service is a Natural Grocers’ FREE virtual nutrition health coaching session. Ready to finally kick start your specific health journey? Give our nutrition experts a shot!
TRY THIS TREND: Schedule a free virtual nutrition health coaching session with a Natural Grocers’ Nutritional Health Coach.
- Flavor Meets Function in the Kitchen
We’ve long known that herbs and spices make our food more flavorful, and now we’re learning that those herbs and spices that make our food taste so delicious also make it healthier. 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 our 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.
TRY THIS TREND: Load up your spice cabinet with Natural Grocers’ organic bulk herbs & spices and explore naturalgrocers.com/recipe-finder for plenty of delicious recipe ideas. For an easy start, try our Indian-Inspired Vegan Lentil Stew. It’s full of delicious and good4u spices!
BONUS TREND: Shoppers Turn to Brick-and-Mortar Stores to Buy Their Supplements
While more Americans than ever are buying and taking dietary supplements, they want authenticity in their shopping experience. This includes factors like a knowledgeable staff, an ethos behind the business, and an authentic physical shopping experience, where they can build personal relationships and trust in the quality of the supplements being sold to them. Now, more than ever, shoppers are on a mission to find supplements from trusted manufacturers and retailers (and are also savvy to the idea that you can’t trust everything on the internet!).
Shoppers are increasingly relying on brick-and-mortar retailers to do thorough product research to screen out potentially unsafe and low-quality products, which just doesn’t happen at large online marketplaces. Finding a supplement retailer who will have your back when it comes to quality, stand by the products they carry, and always fight for your access to dietary supplements is not hard (hint, hint).
TRY THIS TREND: This one is easy! Buy your supplements from Natural Grocers, where you’ll always be met with a smile, a knowledgeable Crew, and the confidence that you are getting the best quality supplements around.
References available upon request.
About Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC) 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. Natural Grocers’ flexible smaller-store format allows it to offer affordable prices in a shopper-friendly, safe, and convenient retail environment. The Company also provides extensive free science-based Nutrition Education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. The Company, founded in 1955, has 162 stores in 20 states.