Fitness has been on my mind a lot lately. (Hello, post-pregnancy!) But even more so because it’s a new year, which means the inevitable declaration of “THIS year will be the year I swear off pizza and get in shape!” (I’m not swearing this off, mind you; pizza is my great love. But other people, I’m sure, have made this declaration.) It’s not uncommon to be thinking about fitness this time of year, when New Year’s Resolutions are floating around like stray bits of leftover tinsel. Especially if that resolution involves fitness. According to a survey, 65 percent of respondents said they were resolving to exercise more, and 54 percent were resolving to lose weight.
Food has also been on my mind a lot lately. Because, well, food is almost always on my mind. But also because food and fitness go hand in hand. (And back to that survey I mentioned earlier, dieting or eating healthier topped the resolution list, with 71 percent of respondents listing that as their number one New Year’s Resolution.) Whether you’re trying to overhaul your fitness routine, or up your healthy living game, food will inevitably factor into your plan at some point. I’ve been reading up on fitness trends we can expect to see this year—you know, in preparation for when I make my Grand Return to Exercise—and I have no doubt that CPG will see a lot of these fitness trends translated onto store shelves. Here are three that I think are guiding the way (sadly, they do not directly involve pizza, which is a shame).
- Minding your meals. Mindfulness is everywhere. And why shouldn’t it be? The proven benefits—better sleep, better chronic pain management, lowered stress levels—are incredible things for the human body and spirit. So it makes sense then that yoga studios are popping up left and right, and meditation is touted as a salve for much of what often ails us. People are (or at least want to be) slowing down and paying better attention to what they are doing to their bodies, and that includes what they’re putting into or on their bodies. Brands that embody this ethos of mindfulness will play well with consumers, and that means being transparent about what ingredients are used, and how those ingredients are sourced. It could also mean showing consumers where their dollars are going when they spend money on a particular product (toward community aid, for example). Liv Bar, for example, was named the Most Mindful Consumer Packaged Good by Mindful Awards, a platform that honors companies that are laying the foundation for the future of CPG.
- HIIT-ing it out of the park. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts have surged in recent years, as people want to work out harder and smarter, and get in and get out and get on with their day. They want to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, and reduce their blood pressure and blood sugar, all thanks to less—though more intense—time at the gym. Because really, who wants to spend more time than they have to at the gym? (Unless it’s to watch the end of that Property Brothers episode while on the treadmill. Guilty.) And like their workouts, consumers want foods and products that will work harder and smarter for their bodies. Products that pack not a one-two but a one-seven punch will be the ones that consumers reach for time and again. Think low-carb, high protein Just the Cheese Crunchy Baked Cheese Bars, or Enlightened Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans, to name a couple of products that are a HIIT with consumers. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist that last one!)
- Customization is key. People want workouts that are customized to their bodies, their schedules, their everything. And they want their food the same way—personalized and customized to their tastes and preferences. We’ve seen some of this with meal kit delivery services and such, but I think we’ll see an uptick in customized single products, rather than entire meals. Think snack bars, beverages, or hair care products, each tailored a consumer’s specific needs and wants.
I’m guessing you can think of a handful of companies that are already tapping into these fitness trends with their products. I know I can. But there will be more–and you can drop and give me 20 on that. Health and wellness are at top of mind for so many consumers; it’s not a fad or trend, and it’s not going to fade anytime soon. (Unlike our New Year’s Resolutions, which, sadly, have about 8 percent chance of success.) Products need to match consumer demands and this year, consumers are going to demand products that are working as hard and healthy as they are.