In the last two years, the coronavirus has fundamentally transformed and elevated the health and wellness industry in ways that will continue to have an impact on brands well into the future.
With existential uncertainty and chronic stress on their minds, many people choose to concentrate their efforts on stabilizing their own health and wellness, taking proactive steps to minimize stress, enhance sleep, and maintain both physical and mental health.
The demand for supplements skyrocketed, which makes sense. When reality feels out of control, consumers turn to items that help with mood, prevent disease, and prepare our bodies and minds for the challenges of uncertainty—and the demand for these products is only expected to increase in the future.
In addition, cannabis proved to be recession-proof, and millions of Americans discovered cannabinoids to be an important source of plant-derived stress reduction during the pandemic.
Even mushrooms (psychedelic and otherwise) are having a moment, and their popularity serves as more evidence of the renewed Western interest in traditional herbal medicinal traditions, as well as the growing public demand for plant-based alternatives to pharmaceutical pharmaceuticals.
When it comes to being receptive to natural medicines and integrative health, millennials and Generation Z are leading the charge—they’re all about getting an ounce of prevention.
All of these trends are positive for consumers, brands, and investors in the supplement industry, as well as those involved in the cannabis, hemp, and fungus industries. Here are the market trends that I believe will be dominant in 2022.
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There has never been a greater demand for supplements that improve cognitive performance—after all, who wouldn’t want a smarter brain? Consumers, on the other hand, are increasingly adopting the long view and investing in supplements such as pharmaceutical-grade Omega-3s, CBD, botanicals, and mushrooms that are known to have neuroprotective effects.
Many elderly Americans are concerned about maintaining brain function; Gen Xers and millennials, on the other hand, are concerned about nootropics for a variety of reasons. Naturally occurring brain boosters that will help people focus and raise their productivity without the unpleasant side effects of caffeine, sugar, or prescription drugs are sought after by these individuals.
Because of the stress and instability caused by the pandemic, individuals are placing a larger value on calm and clear thinking.
As a result of the pandemic, our approach to mental health was fundamentally altered: most of us found life to be more difficult to manage, and many individuals required additional support to cope with concerns like as exhaustion and brain fog.
It’s no surprise that nootropics, which have been demonstrated to lessen the negative effects of stress, have gained in popularity.
The year 2022 may very likely be the most productive year in the history of fungus. In recent years, books such as Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind, the documentary Fantastic Fungi, and regular news reports on the genuinely exciting new research emerging from the Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit have helped to bring psychedelic exploration and therapeutics into the public eye.
It appears that psychedelics will be the next big investment movement; in fact, the psychedelic market is expected to reach $10.75 billion in 2027. According to investor Sean McClintock, who wrote in Fortune, the flurry of investment is tied to the pandemic: “In the context of a post-COVID society, psychedelic health care will become a vital tool in the treatment of worsening mental health problems.”
Moreover, science is revealing that even non-magic mushrooms possess some remarkable properties: from lion’s mane’s impact on brain health to cordyceps’ immune system effects to chaga’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s no surprise that a population newly interested in preventative health is seeking them out.
3. Cannabis legalization
The legalization of cannabis on a nationwide scale, which appears to be a pipe dream, could become a reality as early as 2022. This past November, the first-ever Republican-sponsored federal measure to decriminalize marijuana was submitted; over half of Republican voters support decriminalization at the federal level, according to polling data.
The overwhelming majority of Americans (91 percent) support legalization in some form. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indicated that Delta 8 (a problematic cannabinoid related to THC that is typically generated from hemp) is not officially forbidden, increasing the pressure on the federal government to act on legalizing marijuana. Recent research from the Economic Policy Institute asserts unequivocally that “Federal legalization of the cannabis sector is likely to occur over the next few years,” according to the report.
Cannabis legalization could potentially reach a critical mass in the United States in the coming year, triggering a wave of change across the country. Estimates place the value of new tax income alone at $128.8 billion, and legalization might result in the creation of 1.6 million new employment. The field of cannabis treatments is about to explode.
The economic ramifications will cause disruption on a scale that Silicon Valley technologists could only dream of in their wildest dreams. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this space, and anyone who works in the health and wellness industry should do the same thing.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that resilience and the ability to adapt in the face of disruption and change are both essential. Nonetheless, the increasing interest among consumers in natural and preventative health measures is a positive development in my opinion.
Instead of simply driving markets, viewing health as a long-term commitment involving everyday decisions, proactivity, and self-care will result in improved health results for everyone.