The face of nutrition is ever changing, and 2018 has the potential to be a historic year driving new trends forward and providing a foundation for greater health among consumers. At Herbalife Nutrition, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work with a vast network of experts; with colleagues from around the world who have dedicated their lives to improving how we all live and who afford us a truly global perspective on what’s emerging in our field, what consumers are looking for and what will best fit into their lifestyles. That outlook helps us see what’s around the corner and how to plan for it.
In that spirit, we are sharing our predictions for wellness and nutrition trends for 2018 from a vast array of our experts. What’s ahead for our industry? What can we expect in the realms of nutrition, fitness, and food production? We’ll spend time exploring each of these topics and more, providing a look ahead into the hottest topics and trends cropping up in the wellness space.
Part I – What’s Next in Nutrition
At the top of the list are trends in nutrition. We’re not talking about the latest fad diet or cleanse; we want to know as much as possible about broader expectations for better eating. To get the ball rolling, we asked for insights from two of our experts – registered dietitian Susan Bowerman and Dr. David Heber.
Susan’s Take: Year of Digestive Health
Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.O.W.M., F.A.N.D., Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training
I recently attended the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a gathering of top minds in the field, and confirmed what I’ve been hearing and thinking for a while: that the next year is expected to witness an explosion of products related to digestive health, particularly those containing probiotic bacteria. That includes the typical players – like yogurt and kombucha – but it will also involve more probiotics added to beverages such as tonics and teas, along with a huge range of foods, from energy bars to cottage cheese to muffin mixes and more.
The popularity of coconut oil seems to be leveling out, and we will be seeing more oils made from nuts and avocado. Milk alternatives will expand, too: among the typical soy, almond, and rice milks, new players include cashew and macadamia milks, as well as pea protein-based substitutes.
And there will be increased interest in items featuring spices, both for their flavor and health benefits – most prominently, as anti-inflammatory agents. So expect a rise in the use of turmeric, ginger, spicy North African harissa, and za’atar, a popular Middle Eastern spice comprised of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac.
Taken together, the New Year should bring a mix of food sources new and old, all of them nutritious and each of them exciting parts of a healthy diet.
Dr. Heber’s Perspective: Plant Based Protein On the Rise
Dr. David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N., chairman, Herbalife Nutrition Institute
A majority of consumers continue to focus on weight loss and weight management – a key priority for all of us in an age of ever-rising rates of obesity – followed by large segments of the population that are interested in heart health, healthy aging, more energy, and digestive health. Yet more individuals are appreciating the health benefits of plant proteins and prize sustainability. As increasing numbers discover the power of protein, this will remain a top trend.
As consumers become more conscious of what they’re consuming and where and how it’s grown, many are willing to experiment with their diet and move away from animal-derived to plant-derived ingredients. Thus far, soy has dominated this marketplace, in terms of volume; but there is space for other sources to emerge and compete – quinoa, rice, pea, hemp, and aquatic plants are all trending up among customers.
There are plenty of challenges associated with these shifts – namely, that soy has a higher protein quality than many of the newer novel sources based on its content of the amino acids needed for good health. These new proteins – including quinoa, hemp, pea protein and sesame – can be combined in ways that provide the amino acids your body needs, and they are exciting for consumers looking for something trendy and new. Yet this presents a remarkable innovation opportunity as well: the chances to devise, develop, and deliver plant-based protein products that have high-quality protein and that taste good.