Leading opinion formers and influencers from the UK and international natural and organic community – and participants at this year’s Natural & Organic Products Europe event in London (7-8 April) – have been sharing their insights on the key trends they think will be shaping natural and organic health food retailing in 2019.
Here’s a snapshot of what they said (to read the full version, which includes exclusive commentaries from The Soil Association, the HFMA, The Vegan Society, Dr Marilyn Glenville and presenter and wellbeing author Janey Lee Grace, please visit www.naturalproducts.co.uk/2019-beyond-trends-opportunities-and-challenges-for-the-natural-and-organic-sector):
Shona Wilkinson, director of Shona Wilkinson Nutrition:
“2019 = Ethics Ethics Ethics! It’s not enough to just have a good product nowadays; our consumers are demanding so much more and have huge environmental expectations. They are also willing to pay more for products, which show environmental responsibility. Products will be examined, and questions asked about the ethics around the ingredients, the packaging and the company. This may mean questions about whether the product comes in any form of plastic, whether it is recyclable or of recycled material (eg sourced from recovered plastics from the ocean), are the ingredients ethically sourced, are they sustainable etc. Transparency and traceability will be incredibly important.”
Richard Anderton, buyer at The Health Store:
“One major area we are seeing growth in – and expect this to continue as a trend in 2019 – is consumers seeking alternative to plastics in the home, natural cleaning aids for the kitchen, such as coconut-based and loofah-based scrubbers/scourers that remove the need to use plastic-based products that release microplastic into the ecosystem every time we use them. Also, within this homecare category, demand will continue to grow for non-plastic straws, with stainless steel, wheat, bamboo and avocado-based products already available to our customers. The move towards fully compostable food and doggy poo bags continues to grow as well. Consumers are looking to be sure the products they buy are fully compostable down to molecule level, and not just biodegradable.”
Fiona Klonarides, founder of The Beauty Shortlist:
“CBD oil and hemp look like the big story of 2019. Hemp is an extremely fast-growing crop with a multitude of uses, not just for beauty and wellness, but also fashion, paper, packaging, bags and more. CBD’s flexible delivery methods (eg drops, tinctures, gummies, salves) and the increasingly relaxed legislation surrounding it could make it this year’s most in-demand stress, sleep and pain solution. There’s still a lot of confusion between CBD and THC, though (THC being the substance with mind-altering effects), but as we all start reading more about it, and with more online and bricks and mortar CBD stores opening up, it’ll be better understood.”
Bettina Campolucci Bordi, plant-based chef and blogger at Bettina’s Kitchen:
“Plant based, also known as veganism, is going mainstream and is definitely here to stay. This year many big retailers and chains have added vegan options to their product lines. Meat replacements also seem to be a steady growing industry. Beyond Burger paving the way, along with new trends such as jackfruit that started last year but is only now catching on properly.
“CBD oil has been another rising star, alongside adaptogens that have also made it to the mainstream market. I think the biggest focus this year will be gut health and products that aid digestion or encourage our bacteria flora. This will be a step forward from your usual kombucha.
“I am excited about the future. There has never been so much choice of good, natural and organic products on the market as there is now.”
Rick Hay, health and fitness expert and nutritional director at Healthista:
“Plant-based options will continue to expand as people seek both more ethical and sustainable products. I think there will also be more interest in both the vitamin and botanical sectors in therapeutic phytonutrients like berberine in Barberry and safranal from saffron, for example. Newer superfoods will also come to the forefront, with algae being one of them. The interest in spices for health benefits is another area that will most likely see growth.”
Joe Jackson, director of Apothecary 27 (winner of Best Independent Retailer 2018):
“I think that the zero waste and refill movement will have a great impact on the health and wellness industry this year. Not only are people becoming more conscious about the food they’re eating, but they’re also questioning what their food is being packaged in, and whether it’s necessary. This is driving people into their local health shops and zero waste stores to not only reduce their waste, but to also learn how to do it effectively.
“Since launching our household care refill station it has gone from strength to strength. We have more and more people requesting more refillable goods, such as food and body care. The demand is there from the public, and the suppliers are listening.
“Veganism is another one that is still on the rise in 2019, whether it’s for health reasons or because of animal welfare. The vegan products that are being launched today are far better than they were, even two years ago.”
Jim Manson, editor-in-chief of NaturalProductsGlobal.com:
“In food, the vegan/plant-based juggernaut shows no signs of slowing – with the UK last year emerging as the world leader in vegan NPD (overtaking Germany). But expect to see more of a distinction being made between vegan and plant-based value-systems. Organic sales growth slowed slightly last year, but a raft of innovative new product launches has helped get 2019 off to a good start. It’s exciting to hear of Planet Organic’s plans to double its store count over the next five years, and the increasing organic offer from the leading discounters is also a very striking trend. More generally, I think we will see growth in simpler, more ‘honest’ food products – a reaction, in part, to what has been dubbed the ‘nutritional cacophony’!
“On the natural health front, CBD oil is quickly becoming a very valuable product category for the health food trade – but also migrating quickly into mass retail channels. Consumer interest in turmeric/curcumin is still strong, together with the wider category of adaptogens. Products centred on brain health, mood and gut health also look set for growth.”