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.

When it comes to new products, one new trend that seems particularly exciting is the development of jackfruit as a meat substitute. A staple in South East Asia, this fruit is being used to create delicious new dishes. Versatile and meat-like, it's ideal for barbecues or pulled meat style recipes, curries or Mexican food. More and more products will be harnessing the power of the vegan label, as well as campaigns such as Veganuary to get customers' attention.

Brands will be also looking to make their packaging and product more sustainable, and better for the environment, both small and big brands alike. 'Unpackaging' has become a bigger trend first tested by companies such as Lush with their "naked" shampoos and bars.

A lot of brands are focusing on a very specific need within the sustainability and zero-waste niche, and capitalising on it. The key idea is to combine the idea of plastic-free or package-free with a mission to raise awareness through the products.

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