2020 has been dubbed the year of self care by some experts with many companies in the healthy FMCG space repositioning themselves to more holistic “wellness companies” – rather than just say healthy food and drink, for example.
Why is this happening? Consumers more aware of their interconnected body systems, are owning their self care, prioritising healing and restorative practices as essential components of a healthy lifestyle, are ditching dogmatic food fads for intuition and using tech to personalise everything from nutrition to sleep and exercise routines. They’re starting to understand the complex relationship between between physical, mental, environmental, emotional and even spiritual wellbeing.
This “pivot to wellness” will see brands take an active role in helping consumers address some of these more broader concerns.
Mood, emotional wellness and mindset
With awareness of the two way relationship between the gut and brain now firmly cemented in the minds of consumers, expect more cross over products that address our mood and emotional wellness, stress and lack of sleep with functional ingredients (think more adaptogens*); claims for mood, emotional wellness and mindset; and whole of lifestyle messaging.
In its 2020 Food and Drink report, Mintel, says research into the microbiome has taught more consumers about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut/brain axis, or the connection that links the brain, digestive system, and emotions and more are considering mental health alongside diet and exercise in their personal health management.
Uplift Food launched plant-based and organic gut-health focused cookies, Gut Happy Cookies™ late in 2019 via Amazon. Rolling out in 2020, the cookies are USDA certified organic, plant-based, ketogenic friendly, grain-free, and contains 1B CFU probiotics + 5 unique prebiotic ingredients, less than four grams of sugar and eight grams of protein. Uplift Food launched its first product in 2018, the Daily Uplifter, focussing on prebiotics and the mood supportive benefits of a healthy gut. It later securing investment from Mondelēz International to help the food giant expand into prebiotic functional foods and grow its healthy snacking offer.
Scent has long been used for invoke different moods, but innovative brands are taking that a step further with scents that reinforce positive self care rituals, or support desired states of mind and mindset for optimum performance.
Narrative Lab launched recently by former Thank You co-founder Jarryd Burns. Narrative Lab is Australia’s first customisable solid fragrance that is natural, vegan and cruelty free. Each fragrance is based on a positive mindset – think Fearless, Protector, Take the Moment, Crushing It, Awaken, The Calling, Renew and Rose Above.
Bopo Women offers a range of face, bath, hair, scented oils and crystals to enhance self care and ease anxiety. While the products each have their own function they’re also designed to help “women to reconnect with themselves, each other and Mother Nature”.
* Adaptogens are herbs and other plants that help the body with stress, anxiety, sleep, the immune system and more. They support your adrenal system, combatting the negative effects of cortisol, fight stress, and calm you down while boosting your energy. We wrote about them in 2018 here.
Brain health gets holistic
The brain health category is also set for growth with consumers becoming more aware of the role of the brain in both cognitive function and mental health.
According to Innova Market Insights food and beverage launches with a brain health claim grew 14 per cent the four years to 2018 with the fastest growing categories sport nutrition and snacks, behind baby food. While global brain health supplements for mental performance are expected to reach almost US$12 billion by 2024, up more than 19 per cent CAGR, according to Research and Market insights.
The brain controls all of our bodily functions, from how we think, feel, learn, remember, move and talk to all of our other organs and systems, from our hearts and lungs, to our digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. Trending ingredients include amino acids such as l-theanine (stress-lowering) and phenylethylamine (stimulating) and expect to see the promotion of the neuro-protective qualities of omega-3 essential fatty acids such as DHA appearing in everything from supplements and smoothies to snacks.
myBrain Co is a new DTC e-commerce start-up leading the brain health space in Australia with an innovative approach in nootropics^ that recognises the complex and interconnected relationship between our brain and bodily systems and targets those known to impact cognitive and mental health – the digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems – with functional blends of nootropics, adaptogens, and other clinically validated ingredients. The company’s Smart Mind System offers six products that work together to support brain health, sleep, mental wellbeing, and optimal cognitive performance.
Lack of sleep and stress
Sleep tea, sleep apps, sleep podcasts, even sleep pods – they’ve all exploded during the last 18 months as we start to understand the impact of our overactive fright-flight response and its contribution to lack of sleep. Globally, mental illness is on the rise and sleep deprivation has become a modern-day epidemic with consequences extending far beyond cognitive decline and performance. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep should be the “third pillar of health” alongside exercise and diet, yet we’ve neglected it to the stage of “a dire sleep epidemic that is damaging the mood, health and safety of the nation”. And it’s costing us.
In 2016-17, inadequate and disrupted sleep cost the Australian economy $66.3 billion: $26.2 billion in financial costs and $40.1 billion in loss of wellbeing, according to a report produced for the Sleep Health Foundation by Deloitte Access Economics. This equates to about $9000 of lost sleep per sleepless person. And in 2019 the Australian Government held the Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness in Australia to tackle our sleep crisis.
Growing digital connectivity, an increasingly competitive global marketplace, and pressure to always be at our best in this 24/7 modern lifestyle has increased stress and reduced sleep. In this always-on environment where the pressure to perform is high, it’s as difficult to continuously adjust and keep pace as it is to wind down at the end of the day to achieve enough to rest to restore, refresh and function optimally the next.
Rather than directly improve performance, restorative biohacking is all about the recovery and healing and focuses on nutrition, combatting stress and improving poor sleep. Expect this personalised nutrition, testing and tech to continue to converge with new solutions that focus around restoration and recovery.