Holland & Barrett (H&B) has released its Wellness Trends Report 2023, highlighting sleep, functional ingredients, gut health, Ayurveda and women’s health as ‘big business’ consumer concerns for the year ahead.

April Preston, global product director – and one of the six H&B experts who compiled the Wellness Trends Report – says the retailer is seeing ‘a move towards preventative health and a rise in awareness of under-served healthcare needs’. “You can expect plenty of exciting new trends,” she comments, “but as everyone tightens their belts arguably the biggest trend will be finding great value products and advice that make a real difference.”

Takeaways from 2022

Looking back on 2022 the report lists the following ingredients as the most searched items on H&B’s website throughout this year: CBD, turmeric, creatine, protein powder, omega-3, sea moss, protein, inositol, keto and collagen (which saw a 59% increase in sales over the past year).

Between 2021-2022 H&B saw a 24% rise in demand for eye health products which it attributes to increased screen time brought about by lockdowns and working from home. Strong sales growth also occurred in the sports nutrition category, with supplements, drinks and bars all performing well.

On H&B’s Health Hub the top five most searched for articles were: ‘Sea moss health benefits’ (relating to a popular TikTok wellness trend); Nine expert-approved benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar; What are the best CBD gummies?; Nine ways to get rid of phlegm; and natural ways to support arthritis.

‘Sync your sleep’

For 2023 the reports positions sleep as a top trend. Advice on improving it ranges from adopting circadian eating habits – swapping heavy evening meals for ‘late afternoon light eating’ in winter months; sleep supplements (such as glycine, spearmint and plant

polyphenols, EGCG and L-Theanine); less evening screen use, especially in bed; and natural remedies such as lavender, CBD and chamomile to ward off orthosomnia – the fear of not getting enough sleep.

“There are many reasons for sleepless nights, from the cost of living worries to streaming giants competing for our nightly schedules, so researching and implementing a personal sleep routine will be essential in 2023,” says Alex Glover, senior nutritionist. “We’ll see a rise in the development of technologies, medicines and wellness solutions that help us to realign with our internal circadian rhythms.”

‘Back to our roots’

‘Functional mushrooms and underwater finds’ are the ingredients set to be popular in 2023, with a spotlight on lion’s mane, duckweed and sea moss. “We’ll be eating the rainbow with plant-based foods, functional mushrooms and adaptogens – all of which can help your body deal with stress,” comments Rachel Chatterton, head of food development. “People are moving towards foods that multi-task – from helping to relieve stress, to helping with better sleep and relaxation, energy and immunity.”

As everyone tightens their belts arguably the biggest trend will be finding great value products and advice that make a real difference.

‘Go with your gut’

H&B says fermentation will ‘get a reboot’ in 2023, with the emphasis on flavour, not just gut-boosting benefits. “We expect fermented foods to make a big comeback in 2023, providing ‘good’ gut bacteria but this time they’re going to taste delicious,” says Chatterton. Pasta and baked goods will get a makeover with protein-packed chickpea flour while seed spreads are set to rival nut butters – think sunflower and hemp. Another seed set to make headlines is chia, this time in the plant-milk category; and in snacking H&B expects to see the sector ‘diversifying to target needs ranging from diet-specific hunger-busters to pick-me-up hedonistic moments’.

‘The return of Ayurveda’

“In the coming year, old is the new new,” states the report. Interest in remedies of the past is seeing a resurgence; what was once dismissed as ‘old wives’ tales’ is now being combined with ‘scientific scrutiny’. Ingredients to watch are KSM-66 ashwagandha (a superior, clinically studied form) to support emotional balance, general wellbeing and relaxation; curcumin for joint health and combatting chronic stress; and saffron to alleviate PMS symptoms. “We’re seeing ancient wisdom blend with modern scientific evidence across a number of traditional ingredients. It’s an exciting step forward in being able to substantiate their natural effectiveness,” says Glover.

‘The rise of eco-conscious collagen’

Beauty from within and skin-soothing beauty superheroes are ‘here to stay’ – but 2023’s consumers ‘want their collagen fix to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and that means looking beyond marine versions’. Enter vegan collagen. With the global collagen market set to be worth $5.3 billion by 2026 Geraldine Waterton, head of vitamin and beauty development, says H&B is starting to see ‘younger customers using type 2 collagen supplements to keep their joints in optimal health’. “People are starting to better understand the broader benefits of collagen.”

‘Women’s wellness’

“In 2022 the Government launched its first Women’s Health Strategy for England. Add in celebrity campaigners and female MPs, TV and social media discussions, and the tide is finally turning: women’s health is getting the attention it deserves. This will ramp up even more in 2023,” predicts H&B. “We’ll continue to break down the menopause taboo and we’ll become more focused on a range of specific women’s health issues, with personalized solutions and femtech founders continuing to help lead the revolution on breaking down taboos around menstrual health, endometriosis, PCOS, fertility, miscarriage and more.”

‘Cycle intelligence’ – how a woman lives during each stage of the menstrual cycle – is also pulled into focus as the report suggests a growing understanding of optimal forms of exercise for different times of the month. “High-intensity and endurance workouts during ovulation. Gentle walks during the luteal phase. Gentle movements, restorative and yin yoga when it’s period time. Increasingly, we’ll be matching the right kind of exercise to the phase of our menstrual cycle – plus seeking out nutrients to support ourselves at different stages of the cycle.”

With increasing evidence of the role gut health in addressing PMS – suffered by 90% of women who menstruate – probiotics and products which support vaginal and urinary tract health are ‘ones to watch’, along with brain-supporting nootropics and adaptogens, which are increasingly ‘finding their way into innovative new products for menstrual health’.

“Improving women’s health sits at the heart of Holland & Barrett. From their first period to the last, and beyond, we’re here to support women’s health and wellness journeys. [In 2022] H&B acquired femtech business Parla. Through this innovative business we’re offering online, expert-led group programmes to help with conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and infertility, plus miscarriage, grief after pregnancy loss and menopause,” adds Fiona Sweny, wellness futures science lead.