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Natural Grocers Prognosticates Trends

Specialty Food Association

Natural Grocers has revealed its trends report for 2023, which includes a look ahead at health and wellness, food and beverage, and a movement towards being ecologically thoughtful.

To pinpoint its predictions, Natural Grocers' nutrition education team collaborated with the retailer's purchasing, marketing, and analytics teams. Together, these specialists studied consumer-shopping preferences.

"Though the COVID pandemic initially made its presence known almost three years ago, its lingering effects are still impacting how we approach our health and wellness, self-care and food preparation. We are seeing consumers prioritizing taking care of themselves, their families and the planet, while tightening budgets. There is a big push among both consumers and brands to minimize waste and make every dollar count," said Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers' director of scientific affairs and nutrition education, in a statement. "We've expanded our trends for the coming year to reflect how intricately this is all tied together and how our daily purchases and practices can shape our collective wellbeing and our ability to thrive and flourish long-term."

In the health and wellness category, experts predict a shift toward the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Additionally, gut health and digestive comfort will take priority in consumers’ diets. These solutions can take the form of incorporating prebiotic fiber-rich foods, enzyme supplementation, or stress management. Apple cider vinegar will also gain market share as palatable flavors enter the market, according to the retailer.

On the food and beverage front, Natural Grocers predicts that non-alcoholic beverage purchases and consumption will continue to grow. A simplification of snack ingredients with cleaner labels will also gain popularity. Snacks like jerky, trail mixes, nuts, and seeds are primed to continue growing. Healthy alternatives of indulgent foods like probiotic drink Poppi, or a better-for-you ice cream bar will gradually replace desserts and sweets.

When it comes to ecological impact, consumers will prioritize zero-waste cooking which minimizes packaging waste, versatile products like coconut oil that can be used for cooking, moisturizing and more, and packaging with a purpose, offering sustainable alternatives.

Experts at Natural Grocers also identified a bonus trend that is becoming more popular called the regenivore diet, which entails making food choices that support both personal health and the health of the planet.

Related: Non-Alcoholic Drink Demand on the Rise; Inflation Impacts Holiday Consumers' Plans