The “New Year, New You” health halo is right around the corner, but many have prioritized health — the planet’s and their own — all year. With 7 in 10 consumers saying they’ll continue to cook at home, the pandemic keeps proving how much it’s altered shopping habits and natural product trends (Hunter PR).
As a result, Vermilion identified four key natural product trends in consumer packaged goods (CPG) that definitely aren’t going out of style in 2022.
Natural Product Trend 1: Immune Health
Immunity has become omnipresent as consumers continue to fill their fridges, medicine cabinets, and pantries with products that boost immunity and enhance overall wellness for the whole family. From retail aisles to direct-to-consumer e-commerce, immune health will remain popular, though we anticipate an increased emphasis on the gut-lung axis and more niche immunity-boosting ingredients.
Interest in health grew by 30% in consumer media last year according to Spoonshot Food Innovation Intelligence.
Brands like Maty’s have become medicine cabinet favorites, offering up immune-boosters that work for the whole body and the whole family. Vermilion partnered with Maty’s to redesign their website, with the shared goal to help consumers understand what makes Maty’s products different and foster awareness for consumers who seek natural offerings for their arsenal of wellness products. Maty’s fast-growing Super Berry Immune Support line features a powerful suite of Vitamins D3, C, Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium and is also formulated with immune-boosting ingredients like Elderberry, Acerola Cherry, and Aronia Berry.
Natural Product Trend 2: Transparent Sustainability
Sustainable business practices have seen plenty of innovation this year. The rise of lab-grown food, new plant-based milk with grains as a top ingredient, eco-friendly packaging, and upcycling have become more mainstream.
Brands are also more transparent about their supply chain processes. Pioneers like Wild Planet Foods source their premium canned seafood through only sustainable methods like selective harvesting and pole and line. Behind every product is a seafood procurement policy and a 360-degree monitoring system. This ensures suppliers adhere to sustainability requirements and the company provides consumers transparency through their traceability program.
Wild Planet partnered with Vermilion to cultivate deeper consumer insights, craft a strategy that meaningfully connects, and position the brand as a leading force to care for the health of oceans and people.
Natural Product Trend 3: Plant Alternatives
Consumers attuned to the global impacts of climate change are increasingly opting for new flavor-forward food alternatives sans meat. “Plant-based” isn’t just here to stay, it’s maturing as consumers realize decreasing meat consumption extends beyond personal health. As a result, we’ve seen an uptick in flexitarian or reducetarian lifestyles that focus on conscious consideration of daily eating and cooking habits.
28 percent of people are eating more plant-based protein during the pandemic, according to IFIC.
Our friends at jack & annie’s capitalized on this here-to-stay trend with their category-leading line of jackfruit products. Found in the refrigerated and frozen aisles, their whole-plant Wings, Nuggets, Breakfast Sausage Patties, Links (and more) pack bold restaurant-like flavor and satisfy just like meat. Their direct supply chain also creates better value for farmers and reduces unused jackfruit from premature composting.
The post-COVID-19 gastronomy will continue to trend in favor of plant-based foods rich in vegetables and wholesome ingredients. The shift has solidified a culture of conscious dieting with the planet’s health top of mind.
Beyond the fridge, COVID-19 increased the demand for cleaning products that offer an alternative to harsh chemicals. The panic purchasing of well-known conventional brands and more frequent cleaning at home moved consumers to learn there’s a more sustainable path to a cleaner home.
While interest for better-for-you cleaning products has naturally and steadily increased, the pandemic significantly amplified the discovery, use, and loyalty for brands like CleanWell, which partners with Vermilion on digital communications that promote the benefits and efficacy of their plant-derived disinfecting cleaners made with the botanical ingredient Thymol. CleanWell witnessed record growth during the pandemic and is the fastest-growing disinfectant in the Natural Channel. With growing consumer affinity for a “cleaner” clean and increased online availability, plant-derived products are here to stay.
Natural Product Trend 4: Sweet Reigns Supreme in Frozen
Frozen food has come a long way since microwave dinners. What used to be an aisle where fresh items went to die, frozen aisles and DTC-forward cold-chain brands are having a renaissance. As consumers continue dining at home and seek out convenient options, we’ve seen a surge in interest for frozen food in savory and sweet.
Ice cream alone was responsible for $6.7 billion dollars worth of the frozen food industry’s sales this past year, according to the NFRA’s State of the Industry Report.
While consumers want indulgence from the freezer case, they won’t compromise on convenience, taste, or nutritional benefits. So brands are finding ways to incorporate functional trends or specialty diets like low-carb, keto, and high protein in this hot (we mean chill) category. That’s why frozen snack treats like Yasso’s new Poppable line features frozen Vanilla Greek Yogurt bites wrapped in a quinoa crunch coat and come in at only 60 calories and 9g of protein per poppable.
Rising to the challenge for their tribe of customers, Yasso partnered with Vermilion on a new DTC website that focuses on the gotta-have-it yumminess of their lineup with delicious shots of their frozen yogurt bars, poppables, and sammies. Yasso lovers can now buy these delicious treats from the comfort of their couch for doorstep delivery or find them chilling on-shelf at Target.
The pandemic has shaped a new era of how we eat, and what brands we choose to try and buy. As 2022 rolls in, technology, innovation, and climate awareness will continue to shape natural product trends in CPG, and influence what new options pop up in our carts and on our doorsteps (like… potato milk?).