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What consumers are craving in 2022

The right meal can make you feel peace at the end of a stressful day. It can make you feel loved when you’re far from home. It can make you feel inspired and delighted when your mind is completely drained. And in a world where being healthy feels unattainable in the best of times, consumers continue to rely on what they put in their bodies to bring them the safety and comfort that they crave. 

Overwhelmed with conflicting medical information from trusted sources and concerned about the effects that two years of stress and anxiety are having on the impact of their health, consumers are driving demand for homeopathic ingredients as we enter 2022. Botanicals and herbs like turmeric, hibiscus, elderberry and manuka honey are gaining popularity for their physical and emotional wellness properties and can be found in teas, fruits, spreads and yogurts. While these ingredients are gaining popularity for their healing properties, other botanicals like cocoa, guarana and ginseng are being turned to for their energy boosting qualities

Beyond just key ingredients, Whole Foods ranked functional beverages with fizz as one of their top food trends for 2022. These beverages address everything from sports nutrition, stress, anxiety, and mental clarity. Companies like PepsiCo have already worked to get ahead of this particular trend  with the release of their Driftwell and Soulboost products, aimed at promoting relaxation and mental stamina respectively. 

This trend toward health and wellness isn’t relegated to individual ingredients or products, but is filtering down into entire categories and changing how consumers are allocating their dollars during their weekly grocery shop. Having discovered both the health and cost-saving benefits of cooking at home over the course of the pandemic, consumers are headed into 2022 driving demand for high-quality fresh or fresh-frozen foods. Grocers have expanded their offerings in response to this shift, and Instacart has evolved with them, recently launching their Ready Meal Hub. This separate functionality within their grocery delivery app has already delivered promising results, with shoppers who add two fresh meals to their cart on average adding 19 other items to their order at the same time.

2022 looks to be the year that consumers dial in to their own personal health and wellness, creating a diverse landscape for brands to explore when it comes to ideating new product offerings. Developing the right communication tools—through packaging, product trial promotions and omnichannel messaging—will be key in maintaining top of mind awareness with shoppers and ultimately driving conversion at shelf.