Top 10 Nutrition Trends of 2021

Check out what consumers are seeking in terms of health and nutrition moving into 2021, and see how the pandemic has impacted how they're thinking about food.

Top 10 Nutrition Trends of 2021

Natural Grocers has released its fifth annual Top 10 Nutrition Trends predictions, which is a compilation of anticipated health, nutrition and food trends for the coming year. "Our trends this year are dramatically different than previous years in that they're far less fleeting. COVID-19 is a pandemic that sits on top of another pandemic in the United States of malnutrition and poor long-term health," remarked Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers' manager of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education. "Hence, 2021 holds broader trends that focus on improving nutrition to support our own health, as well as the health of our communities and our environment."

The Natural Grocers' Nutrition Education team is made up of experts ranging from registered dietitians to chefs, all of whom collaborated with buyers and analysts to study consumer-shopping preferences. Here is what they're predicting for 2021:

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a critical role, making sure the immune system functions sufficiently and responds as needed. This vitamin is essential for supporting children's health and positive moods, brain function and cognition, in addition to healthy lungs, weight, pregnancy, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, bones and muscle tone. Roughly 40% to 80% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D, while approximately 90% have suboptimal levels. This will likely lead consumers to vitamin D supplements. 

2. Long-Term Immune Support

Boosting immunity and immune systems was a hot topic for consumers during the pandemic, as they realized that the importance of supporting the immune system on a daily basis helps it continue to function optimally. This trend will see consumers turning to dietary supplements specifically aimed at long-term immune support. 

3. Blood Sugar Balance

Growing research is showing that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes sugar to reproduce and that individuals with type-2 diabetes are at a higher risk of hospitalization and complications from COVID. So, supporting blood sugar balance is going to be a key trend and method rooted in health moving forward. The advantage is that there are plenty of places this trend could go because there are a lot of ways to do this, such as: giving up sugar-sweetened beverages, eliminating added sugar, no-added-sugar detoxes, ketogenic diet and adding supplements. 

4. Healthy De-Stressing

Although many people turned to alcohol and food in an effort to cope with pandemic stress, in 2021 they'll be seeking healthier ways to relax. De-stressing is important for balancing hormone levels, with cortisol significantly impacting the immune response. Expect to see consumers adding magnesium, fish oil, vitamins B and C, curcumin and phosphatidylserine to their regimens. Another important step for consumers is practicing compassion and empathy. 

5. Olive Oil

2021 is when olive oil makes a comeback. It has many health benefits and is a key component of the Mediterranean diet. Expect to see it in snack aisles, as well, with olive oil chips, popcorn and seaweed snacks. 

6. The Climatarian

Consumers are shifting to buying organic for environmental reasons, purchasing more organic fruits and veggies in all forms, whether fresh, canned or frozen. There will also be a priority placed on regenerative/pasture-based meat and dairy products. 

7. Affordable, Healthy Home Meals

Consumers are switching from fun and adventurous meals during the pandemic to easy-to-make options that taste good. They're looking for quick and affordable solutions to cooking, meal planning and meals that don't require a lot of prep. 

8. Veggie Time

Expect vegetables to leap to the forefront in the New Year, as consumers realize the only constant in diet advice seems to be eating more veggies. Again, consumers will turn to vegetables in many forms, whether canned, fresh or frozen, as they all provide plenty of nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. 

9. Back to Basic Health

The pandemic forced everyone to recognize their unhealthy lifestyle habits. So as 2021 rolls around, consumers are going to be taking control of their health again by going back to the basics of prioritizing sleep, cleaning up diets, making time for exercise and daily movement, and consuming supplements. 

10. Fitness Nutrition

2021 will see a decline in grab-and-go, post-workout foods and a rise in customized fitness nutrition and supplementation. The upcoming year will transition toward pairing whole, real foods with supplements to aid workout recovery. Expect to see more exploration in magnesium to support muscle recovery, MCT oil to fuel more explosive workouts, collagen to support healthy joints and ligaments, beets and green powders for healthy blood flow to muscles during workouts, and B-complex vitamin to for energy. 

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