2021 Top Trends in Active Nutrition: My Evaluation

by Matt Weik

Each year, I check out what people are touting as the top trends in the Active Nutrition market. This year, NutraIngredients put out their thoughts and, as usual, I want to chime in. They gathered their information from FrieslandCampina Ingredients and published the top four trends they are predicting and will be watching. I’m going to touch on the three that I agree with and think have the most merit.

Let’s check them out.

Immune, Brain, and Gut Health

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we need to be paying more attention to our health. It’s commonly mentioned that people don’t tend to focus on their health until they lose it. And with millions of Americans falling victim to COVID, health should be on everyone’s radar – regardless if you are worried about the virus or not.

I absolutely agree with this prediction that, again this year, we will have a major focus on immune, brain, and gut health. Whether this be through straight supplementation or functional foods and beverages is yet to be seen, but I place this category at the top of my list for trends.

Consumers are more educated today than they ever were, yet there are still millions of Americans who don’t know the first thing about proper nutrition and supplementation. I believe that more educational information will be published this year all across media platforms to help open the eyes of consumers and help them understand the importance of keeping the immune system, brain, and gut functioning optimally.

Of the group just mentioned, I predict a big push on immunity and gut health specifically. Many people understand the benefit of supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin D, and we saw a considerable increase in sales for both types of supplements in 2020.

That said, gut health should not be ignored. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize that their gut has bacteria, let alone good (healthy) bacteria that need the proper environment to help boost immunity and preserve health.

Female-Focused Personalized Nutrition

Not to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT! I’ve been saying this for years, but not many brands have seemed to jump on this segment of the market that has been untapped. Sure, there are some brands out there who are movers and shakers in the segment like BeautyFit, but there hasn’t truly been a focus on personalized nutrition for women.

Now, there are certainly specific products (such as vitamins and minerals) that are important for women. We see women’s multivitamins and prenatals on the shelves of just about every retailer out there. But other than multivitamins, you really don’t see a massive push for “female-friendly” supplements.

With that being said, it would be wrong of me to lead women to believe that many of the supplements on the market are not for women. Just like with men, women can take advantage of supplements like protein powders, nutrition and protein bars, creatine, amino acids, and many other supplements that are pushed more towards the male demographic. Many of these same supplements can be used by those women who exercise regularly and focus on their health and fitness.

If brands can launch female-focused products, I see it being a huge revenue source for them. Or, at the very least, include some content or copy on their website that mentions the fact that women can take the product and how they should do so to get the best results. That would save them a ton of money versus launching a whole new line of products. My advice to them? Hire a writer/copywriter (ahem, my hand is raised) and have them rework some of the copy on your website to reflect these changes and then either utilize paid ads or social media to get the word out.

Needless to say, I absolutely agree with this Active Nutrition trend and think many brands are missing the boat with an enormous opportunity.

Convenience Items

I’ve been saying for years (if you read my content) that convenience is king. Everyone wants easy to buy and consume products. Healthy snacking is here, and I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon – which is a great thing for those who take their health and fitness seriously.

If you look at the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, there are many options everywhere you turn. Protein shakes, smoothies, turmeric beverages, acai drinks, kombucha, greens beverages, the list goes on and on.

Then you have the healthy snacking category that is putting a greater focus on products with added protein in them and natural ingredients. Men and women, both young and old, are paying closer attention to what they are putting in their bodies, and with brands continually innovating and launching new products, we have a seemingly endless number of choices at our disposal.

Protein brownies, protein cookies, plant-based snacks, health-focused drinks and beverages, all of these things are playing a more significant role in our daily lives. You can even look at greens products seeing a lift in sales due to people getting their arms around their nutrition and noticing they aren’t getting in enough vegetables from their diet. All of these convenience items are going to continue to boom in 2021, in my opinion.

What do you think of this list? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know down in the comments.