It’s the start of a new year, and if you’re wondering what health trends may be most popular in 2023, you’ll want to keep an eye out for these newcomers!
Staying up to date on the latest health trends can help you make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle. (However, it is important to note that there are also many tried-and-true health traditions that still work today, so we always want to take any new trends with a grain of salt before we jump on board.)
There are always plenty of changes in the world of food and wellness, and this year is no exception. From sea-sourced supplements to dairy alternatives and more, here’s what ThriveMarket.com predicts you’ll see a lot more of this year:
1.) Kelp, sea moss, and other sea vegetables
What’s the deal? Nutrient-dense seaweeds and sea vegetables are becoming more well-known, and used more commonly as both food sources and in supplements.
Why it’s trending: While most people think of vegetables as growing on land, there are many nutritious vegetables growing beneath the sea, offering another avenue for eating your greens. Sea moss is also becoming a popular addition to a supplement or smoothie routine, thanks to being high in iodine, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals.
2.) Newer, better plant-based meats
What’s the deal? No longer limited to just plant-based beef and burgers, 2023 may usher in an increase in plant-based chicken, pork, jerky, and other meat substitutes.
Why it’s trending: As plant-based meats become more sophisticated (and healthier, as many brands are cutting down on artificial ingredients and fillers in favor of real, whole foods), the category is expanding to include other types of meat substitutes. “Retailers are looking for a better-tasting, whole food alternative [to processed plant-based foods],” says Ali Schmid, Product Innovator at Thrive Market. Mushroom jerky from brands like Pan’s and Moku, plant-based chicken from Daring, and plant-based seafood from Good Catch are just a few examples of these new forms of meat-free proteins that look, feel, and taste just like their meaty counterparts.
3.) The brain-gut connection
What’s the deal? This concept refers to eating for the enteric nervous system, the more than 100 million nerve cells within the digestive tract that control digestion, but also communicate with the brain.
Why it’s trending: As more and more people become interested in the connection between gut health and brain function (and, in turn, your moods), the concept of eating to maintain a healthy gut becomes top-of-mind. “There are specific food products now that include nootropics and adaptogens that are meant to help your body respond to stress, anxiety, and fatigue and support overall wellbeing,” says James Ren, Director of Merchandising for Branded Foods at Thrive Market. “Taking care of one’s own health has evolved from just being focused on physical health to now include mental health. This is fueling the rise of these types of products, as consumers are more and more focused on taking care of their holistic health.”
4.) The return of “real” dairy
What’s the deal? A swing away from the massive influx of vegan cheese, egg alternatives, and plant-based milks in the past few years (oat, pistachio, and even pea protein are a few of the more memorable), 2023 will likely welcome the return of dairy—high-quality, organic dairy, that is.
Why it’s trending: “Dairy has always been a controversial food item in the wellness space, but we’ve seen beliefs evolve over time,” says Lina Diaz, Site Merchandising Coordinator at Thrive Market. “I’ve seen more and more people who once advocated for a dairy-free diet start to talk more about certain types of dairy.” The “certain types of dairy” that are on the rise in the health food world aren’t your usual skim or 2%; these are varieties like A2 dairy, which is a type of milk from heirloom cows that are bred to not produce the A1 beta-casein protein, a larger protein often thought to be the protein that causes digestion issues. So-called “raw milk” is also on the rise, which is milk that has not been pasteurized (though consuming raw milk is often viewed as risky, as it could contain harmful bacteria). Even if they don’t go so far as raw milk, many people are opting to return to consuming dairy in higher quality, more natural forms. “It comes down to the processing. There are a lot of plant-based products that are overly processed, so people are getting back to the basics, eating more natural items and products to have less processed food in their diets,” says Caleb Hulsey, Senior Category Manager at Thrive Market.
5.) Chickpea flour
What’s the deal? This alternative flour is made from dried and ground chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).
Why it’s trending: Chickpea flour is becoming a popular gluten-free alternative to traditional flours. It stands out from alternative flours like almond flour or oat flour thanks to its sweet, creamy texture and high amounts of protein. “It’s gluten-free, it’s nut-free, so it’s the type of flour that could meet a lot of dietary restrictions,” says Schmid. While chickpea pastas have been popular for a few years, 2023 could see a rise in the flour form for things like cookies, crackers, and other baked goods.