Insights for Retailers

Growth of the 'Natural Health Service'

The number of Brits turning to natural remedies instead of visiting their doctor is growing with 21% turning to alternatives such as homeopathy, nutritional therapy, therapeutic massages and herbal tonics.

According to a study from the School of Health, 48% prefer to find their own remedies while the average Brit takes nine vitamin and mineral supplements a month.

One in five believe they have to see their doctor less because of the natural remedies they use to ward off illness. A further fifth is considering using herbal medicine, while 16% would experiment with homeopathy and 15% considering nutritional therapy.

Mani Norland, Principal at The School of Health, which commissioned the report via, says: “Busy waiting times and overloaded medical professionals mean many people find it easier to fend for themselves.

“Add to this a growing mistrust of pharmaceutical companies, and it’s little surprise many adults are looking for more natural solutions to stay well.

“People feel more empowered to take responsibility for their own health and do their own research, and the survey shows that many choose natural medicines because they feel they are safer, less toxic with little or no side effects.”

Pack it in

In a survey of UK adults by delivery management company Whistl, 75% of respondents said they wanted e-retailers to minimise parcel packaging waste and use environmentally friendly materials for packaging their online purchases.

Seaganism makes a splash

First came the term ‘vegetarian’, then ‘flexitarian’ before ‘vegan’ became the hip foodie word of the decade. Now UK seafood authority Seafish has come up with ‘Seagan’ as part of a campaign to promote fish as part of a healthy diet when combined with plant-based dishes.

Chief Executive Marcus Coleman says: “The health benefits of eating seafood are well documented and, coupled with the benefits of a plant-based diet, seagansim presents a sustainable, tasty and flexible diet for people of all ages and stages of life. Our Think Seagan campaign will inspire and educate those looking to make changes to their diet.”

Environmental concerns

New Mintel figures show that more than half (55%) of UK buyers of soap, bath and shower products would consider buying products with reduced/no plastic packaging, rising to 68% of over-65s. Just under half (47%) are interested in buying refillable products and 42% would consider using products with an all-natural formula. Four in ten want palm-oil free products.

Vegan UK leading the way, but not quietly

A report commissioned by environment secretary Michael Gove shows the extent to which a vegan diet can have a real effect on greenhouse gases. Mintel says the UK has toppled Germany from its top spot in vegan new product development. A third of UK consumers reduced their meat consumption in the six months to July 2018.

All looking good so far if you exclude the megaphone warriors who picket our supermarkets, including Brighton’s HISBE which deserves better for its ethical and local standpoint. And as Veganuary draws to a close, hats off to the charity which has made a massive impact at the start of 2019.

Michael Gove’s report says that a population turning to healthy diets could result in a 12% reduction in greenhouse gases, moving to vegetarian 26%, and adopting veganism 36%. A pipe dream of course, but it shows the potential impact on food and farming when you consider that the UK generates the equivalent of around 1bn tons of CO2 a year.

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Indies hold the whip hand in cosmetics sustainability

Beauty and personal care brands (BPC) must change their approach to sustainability and zero waste or die, according to Mintel’s 2019 Global Beauty & Personal Care Trends report.

“Some companies are already discussing totally circumventing packaging,” says Mintel. “This is not just a trend, it is a movement.”

Independent retailers already have the lead as big companies that put current profits ahead of investment in zero waste solutions will lose out in the long term. “Indie brands already have the edge as they have built their business practices around ethics,” says Mintel.

“High-profit BPC brands that aren’t investing in this area are already condemning themselves.”

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Source: Euromonitor

Why the VMS category is in good health

Modern lifestyles and growing health awareness are providing a rosy future for VMS sales, according to market research carried out for Solgar®.

Add to that consumer concerns about the side effects of medicines together with demand for ‘natural’ and ‘functional’ products, and the steady growth of the VMS and sports nutrition categories will continue.

Sales of vitamins and supplements are estimated to have reached £442m in 2018, a rise of 6% from £417m in 2013 (source: Mintel). The sector is predicted to see a steady rise in value sales over the next five years, with the market forecast to grow a healthy 8% to reach £477m in 2023.

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Sunshine Vitamin named UK bestseller

Vitamin D has been crowned Britain’s favourite single vitamin supplement, overtaking vitamin C, following research by Mintel.

Sales rose a glowing seven percentage points in 2018, bought by 33% of VMS users, up from 26% in 2017.

While usage has ticked upwards for all age groups, people aged 35-54 were the main drivers, with usage rising from 22% in 2017 to 35% in 2018 among this group.

The UK’s top five single vitamin supplements are Vitamin D (33%), Vitamin C (27%), Vitamin B complex (15%), Vitamin A (12%) and Vitamin E (10%). Meanwhile, well over half (56%) of VMS users take multivitamins.

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Why sustainability is changing retail businesses

Consumer sustainability focus will change the way retailers do business, according to Mark Childs, Senior Retail Consultant at digital services pioneer Capgemini.

The explosion in concern over plastic use has been impossible to miss in 2018 as public scrutiny of plastic waste and its widespread usage has reached mainstream consciousness.

“Within our industry, the problem of plastics has gone from an environmental niche to a subject that is firmly on the agenda of retailers and suppliers alike,” says Childs.

“A recent Greenpeace study found that 72% of consumers think supermarkets are not doing enough about packaging to tackle the plastic problem. As we enter 2019, the expectation for all retailers to develop a solution will only intensify, and the increasing sustainability awareness will require businesses to revisit their environmental goals and timelines.

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What’s hot for health-conscious older people

Healthy ageing is emerging as a food and drink opportunity in 2019. Preparing for a longer, healthier lifespan is particularly relevant as consumers view health and wellness as a holistic, proactive and ongoing pursuit.

This is one of the findings in the Mintel Global Food & Drink Trends 2019 report, highlighting the importance of self-care, a habit identified in Mintel’s 2018 trends report.

Food and drink manufacturers can look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy ageing product development that is centred around positive language across life stages and age demographics, rejects terms like ‘anti-ageing’ for its negative connotations, and addresses longevity-related health concerns.

With more consumers taking an active interest in their long-term health, expect to see more ‘nootropics’, a broad group of supplements like L-theanine, B-vitamins, choline and omega-3s that claim to enhance brain power, focus, alertness and general wellbeing.

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Buzzwords for 2019 – gut-friendly, vegan and ‘unpackaged’

Champion health blogger and author Fab Giovanetti spotlights the key trends for health food retailers in 2019.

At the end of 2017 we saw the rise of miso, kimchi and kefir products from artisan brands and bigger companies. As the BBC named 2018 as "the year of gut health" with a rise in pickled and fermented vegetables, the next step was meant to be affordable and easy-to-consume solutions for busy people. Brands like Happy Tummy Co are pioneering with ranges of food-to-go across London, and this is just the beginning of a new era for gut-health food. Gut-friendly food is a trend we'll still see going strong in 2019, with no sign of slowing down.

Boosting current products with healthy bacteria is something we can see happening in different areas of the supermarkets, getting the general public more and more accustomed to the idea, just like the first cultured ice cream by the Cultured Ice Cream Company. Dairy-free, grain-free, sugar-free creaminess made from cultured kefir coconut cream.

Vegan is a growing segment of the market – being vegan is all about being part of a community, something I know very well from the research I covered in the book Make an Impact, uncovering the six habits of highly influential people. One of those habits is nurturing and participating in a community with a mission that goes beyond the individual, which is something most vegans can easily relate to.

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Loyalty, plastics, local and prices are key influences on retail in 2019

IRI, the analytics and insights provider for FMCG, OTC healthcare and retailers, has published its FMCG trends for the year ahead.

1. Loyalty programmes.

Paul Hinds, IRI’s Senior Vice President of International Retail Solutions, says: “It’s not loyalty, but impactful customer engagement that retailers need to focus on. Loyalty programmes remain an important component of the customer experience, but they are increasingly commoditised, with customer usage driven by habitual collection of points rather than meaningful engagement with the retailer and its brand. This lack of purpose and differentiation is a challenge for retailers who need to derive value from their programmes to justify continued investment, especially with disruptive online retailers and specialist ‘clubs’ able to develop one-to-one relationships with the customer without the need for a traditional points-based programme.

“Understanding the what, when, where and how customers buy and then making a quick, impactful decision to drive growth that can also be accurately measured, is still beyond the reach of many retailers. Those companies who get this right, embedding a customer insight-driven approach across the entire business, will be the ones that lead the pack.”

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CBD is physical stores’ golden opportunity

CBD sales through UK retailers currently stand at around £50 million, primarily online. According to one supplier, that’s likely to grow by a factor of 20 to reach £1bn by 2020, and traditional independent retailers stand to reap the rewards as consumers realise the need to help them make informed choices.

Henri Sant-Cassia of CBD Virtue says: “The online retail space is becoming saturated and constrained as some companies have chosen to suspend trading in CBD. This is pushing customers towards traditional retail.

“There is also an increasing variety and quality of products, which mean consumers need help, so independent stores are becoming the front line in this ballooning trade.

“Thirdly, the demographics of buyers are changing. Initially it was either younger buyers who took their inspiration from Colorado and California, followed by vapers and e-cigarette users who are currently the majority of buyers.

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TV doctor cautious about the latest health and wellbeing trends

Last year we were Fitbit obsessed, spinning took off, and everyone was getting personalised vitamin supplements. But this year, CBD oil sits alongside veganism as a megatrend to watch, says Dr Sara Kayat of GPDQ, the UK’s first GP-on-demand-app and resident GP on ITV This Morning's ‘Second Opinion’.

She emphasises to patients that CBD does not have the psychoactive effect of THC and as such is one of the few cannabinoids that is not considered a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

But she is cautious about the way CBD is promoted.

“CBD has been hailed a cure-all, with claims of improving Alzheimer’s, anxiety and arthritis,” she says. “However, the studies thus far are minimal in terms of human trials.

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The rising power of plant protein in sports nutrition

A report by Lumina Intelligence highlights the shift away from animal protein sources in sports nutrition. This sector is now regarded as mainstream and no longer the preserve of serious athletes and body builders. Claims such as “100% plant protein” and “vegan” are crucial in order to captivate consumer attention.

Lumina Market Intelligence’s sports nutrition data captures over 2,600 unique brand variants and 750 distinct brands across 20 countries. It concludes that flexitarianism is fuelling demand for vegan proteins as consumers aim to reduce animal-derived foods in their diets.

The personal health aspect is also important as there is a growing body of research attesting that plant-based diets are much healthier, substantially reducing chronic disease risk.

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Meat alternatives – bring on the super-sub!

The meat substitute market will reach global sales of £4billion by 2020, according to Allied Market Research. The growth of ‘flexitarianism’ and demand for plant-based protein are leading to better-for-you alternatives in the form of protein-enriched snacks and meat substitutes in most European markets.

Meat substitutes such as seitan, tofu and tempeh are increasingly well-recognised and accepted by consumers, especially those committing to cruelty-free diets, according to food ingredients company Ingredion.

Meanwhile, busy lifestyles have fuelled consumer demand for healthy on-the-go snacks. Industry commentators believe the increased focus on supply chain transparency and a desire for natural claims on packaging is leading shoppers to seek products made with ingredients perceived as natural.

Ingredion’s report on the savoury market says manufacturers are shunning the conventional practices of using corn or potato and are turning to ingredients such as lentils, parsnips and even seaweed in producing nutritious and crunchy snacks.

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New hope for migraine sufferers

Migraine is the leading cause of disability among all neurological disorders with more than 50% of migraine sufferers unhappy with their current treatment. Now a double-blind randomised controlled trial of live bacteria supplements in both chronic and episodic migraine sufferers has shown dramatic improvements in symptoms.

The trial, published in January 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Cephalalgia, involved a new supplement, Bio-Kult Migréa, and is the first successful controlled trial showing a benefit of a probiotic in the management of migraine headaches.

The Migraine Trust reports that the disease is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined and affects three times as many women as men, with this higher rate being most likely hormonally driven.

Research suggests that 3,000 migraine attacks occur every day for each million of the general population. This equates to over 190,000 migraine attacks every day in the UK.

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