With just a few weeks left in 2022, grocers are sharing what kinds of products they expect will gain popularity with consumers in the New Year.
Natural Grocers is the latest to announce its trend predictions for 2023, unveiling on Thursday its seventh annual list of 12 trends evenly divided across four categories: health and wellness, body care and beauty, “ecologically thoughtful,” and food and beverage. For each of the trends, Natural Grocers provides suggested products or recipes.
Among its predictions, the grocer expects to see more interest in:
- The sober curious movement
- Simplified snacking
- “Healthy-ish” comfort foods
- “Purposeful” packaging consumers can recycle or compost
- Zero-waste cooking
- Gut health and digestive comfort
Consumer perceptions about healthy habits, not surprisingly, factored into the trends. Natural Grocers is predicting that more consumers are wanting to develop healthier habits with alcohol, from taking breaks from alcohol to choosing alcohol-free libations.
Natural Grocers also noted that digestive comfort and gut health were the most requested topics this year for one-on-one coaching sessions with the company’s nutritional health coaches. The grocer expects consumers to turn to more foods with prebiotic fibers, probiotic and digestive enzyme supplementation, and stress management to improve their gut health.
Natural Grocers also expects consumers will embrace “real food” for snacks after being recently bombarded with functional foods that contain herbs, vitamins or other supplement-style nutrients. The grocer says jerky, trail mixes, nuts and seeds are already gaining momentum.
“Amidst all the functional foods hubbub, in 2023 consumers are opting for the simpler choice by going back to real food,” the grocer says on its website. “Let’s let supplements be supplements and food be food.”
Healthier versions of comfort food also made the trends list as consumers aim to eat slightly better options of their favorite indulgences, the grocer said.
Zero-waste cooking refers to reducing the use of unnecessary ingredients, making smaller portions to avoid throwing out leftovers and repurposing or composting food scraps, the grocer said, noting that it can also help consumers save money and ties into desires to live more sustainably.
“There is a big push among both consumers and brands to minimize waste and make every dollar count,” Shelby Miller, Natural Grocers' director of scientific affairs and nutrition education, said in the announcement.
An overarching “bonus” trend that spans categories is the Regenivore Diet, which the grocer defined as “making food choices that support your health and the health of the planet.”
The specialty grocer said its Nutrition Education team, which consists of health and wellness professionals, worked with its purchasing, marketing and analytics teams to identify the trends on this year’s list, which they expanded beyond the nutrition category.
"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,” Miller said. “We are seeing consumers prioritizing taking care of themselves, their families and the planet, while tightening budgets.”
Natural Grocers said it will promote its trend predictions on its site, social media accounts and its Health Hotline magazine.
In October, Whole Foods Market released its food trend predictions for 2023, which included a heightened focus on animal welfare, growing popularity of products with kelp, climate consciousness and new cravings for childhood comfort food.