Sleep quality, digital detoxes, the growing popularity of soup, and the de-stigmatization of mental health issues are among the top consumer health trends expected to make headlines in 2018, according to a values-based nonprofit national research group.
“We have continued to see healthy behavior expand beyond diet and exercise over the past decade and expect to see more attention paid to the mental aspects of health in the future,” says Mark Weinfeld, director at The Values Institute (TVI), a Santa Ana, Calif-based social science research entity that recently released its 2018 trends report today.
TVI used observational studies to identify 7 health and wellness trends that Americans are most likely to embrace in 2018.
TVI’s BalancedHealthy practice predicts these top seven consumer health trends to go from niche to mainstream in 2018.
- What’s Good for the Gut. The biggest trend that will see enormous growth in 2018 is attention and care for gut health. Foods and drinks that are beneficial towards gastro-intestinal processing, such as nut milk yogurt and probiotic drinks, are becoming more mainstream. The popular probiotic drink kombucha has seen sales increase 12 times over in the last 3 years, with frequent drinkers referring to themselves as riding the “booch bandwagon.”
- Femtech. Cycle-tracking apps, fertility and contraception awareness, and pregnancy trackers are just some of the latest tech innovations that are helping women understand their bodies in a way that is more open, aware, and vocal than ever before. This new category of technology is already worth an estimated $1.1 billion and is expected to continue to grow immensely in 2018.
- Sleeping: The Next Competitive Sport. The big trend for sleep in 2018 is not just about getting enough sleep, but optimizing the hours they do get. Oils, weighted blankets, and an arsenal of technological devices are now available to help people improve their sleep. In fact, getting better sleep has almost become an athletic endeavor as people compete to get more out of their sleep.
- Souping is the New Juicing. The trend of juicing came about a few years ago when people started getting creative with the way they got their daily dose of veggies. But as colder weather approaches each year, another option for getting your fill of veggies has been growing in popularity—soup. Soup recipes for 2018 will contain a lot of on-trend ingredients, such as ghee, turmeric, and bone broth.
- Digital Detox No Longer Just About Vacations. With the inundation of smart phones into nearly every area of life, digital detoxes are no longer just a cool thing to do—they’re perceived as downright impressive. Restaurants and hotels have gone so far as to advertise that they do not offer WiFi, something that just a few years ago was a huge draw for people looking to link up while they were away from home.
- A New “Top” for Ice Cream. While ice cream is not a new dessert trend, it’s certainly grown over the last few years to stay on par with the trend to go back to whole, natural foods. After the froyo craze of the 2000s, people are still looking for low-calorie desserts with fresh ingredients, but they want them without anything artificial. Halo Top ice cream, which for a period in 2017 was actually out-selling ice cream giants Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s after a reported 2,500% sales increase, has succeeded where other low-calorie ice creams did not because it is made with no artificial sweeteners.
- De-stigmatizing Mental Health in Media. 2017 saw an increase in the portrayal of mental health issues in mainstream media, from the two controversial Netflix series To the Bone and 13 Reasons Why, to The Good Doctor on primetime ABC. These three shows have received a mix of both praise and criticism, suggesting people want more of these issues brought to light in entertainment but that no one has quite gotten the execution right yet.
“These trends are consistent with the growing importance of health among Americans—we have seen the BalancedHealthy population grow from 76% to 79% since 2014,” Weinfeld says in a release. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that health is the new social currency in this country—meaning that 9 out of 10 Americans would rather be seen by others as healthy versus wealthy.”