iHerb releases wellness trend predictions for 2023

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Galeanu Mihai
Getty Images / Galeanu Mihai

Related tags Trends COVID-19 Innovation

The report unpacks what’s in store for dietary supplements and natural products, underscoring how consumer needs will change over the coming year.

iHerb, an eCommerce platform dedicated to vitamins, minerals and supplements has tapped Dr. Michael Murray, ND, —a leading voice in dietary supplements—to share his observations for the top health and wellness trends likely to gain popularity in 2023. 

Murray, who is iHerb’s Chief Scientific Advisor, recently identified a number of trends in the report​, with the top one born out of the pandemic. 

Trend #1: Changing consumer focus

While the focus on immune health isn’t going anywhere, Murray said recent surveys suggest other concerns are on the rise. He pointed to one survey of over 5,000 consumers from seven countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, the UK, and the US. The survey found that the top concerns were sleep quality and stress, and brain health and function​. 

Trend #2: Protein power

According to market data, the protein powder and amino acids segment is the fastest-growing sector in the supplement category. It is not only the increasing number of sports enthusiasts and bodybuilders fueling this growth, but also consumers purchasing collagen protein products to help promote skin health and beauty from within. Murray noted that collagen leads as the fastest-growing protein choice, with consumers also purchasing more vegan protein like pea, hemp, pumpkin, soy and rice, as well as whey, casein, and egg protein powders. 

According to Precedence Research, the global protein supplements market size is expected to hit $49.29 billion by 2030, up from $25.6 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.53% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2030.

Trend #3: Different formats primed for growth 

Consumers are increasingly looking to supplement via non-pill alternatives, with the format steadily growing in sales for the last three decades.

According to Murray, the biggest trend within the gummy category is the growth in vegan gummies, which are typically made using citrus pectin rather than gelatin from animals.

“The surge in gummy sales since 2020 was due to many new people supplementing in the immune health category looking for something more convenient and fun than taking a pill. The growth in the vegan gummy category reflected the rising tide lifting all gummies, plus the availability of more vegan gummy options. Until the last few years, there were few vegan alternatives to gelatin. There are now solid vegan performers in this category. Low-sugar gummies made from citrus pectin are especially popular at iHerb,”​ Murray told NutraIngredients-USA.

“While gummies have been steadily growing in sales since the 1990s, it surprised me that in 2021 surged by 74.8%, and gummies composed 21% of total sales, making it the best-selling form of dietary supplement with over $12.97 billion in annual sales in the US,”​ Murray said.

Trend #4: The shroom boom 

The global health mushroom market​ is estimated to be worth over $25 billion and is expected to grow over 10% yearly for the next eight years. This growth is linked to the many health benefits of mushrooms, which are rich in bioactive compounds such as flavonoids as well as polyphenols, beta-glucans and triterpenes. Murray predicts that chaga, cordyceps and turkey tail will surge in popularity, in addition to well known shiitake and reishi. 

“I love scientific discovery and innovation, so I am very excited about the growth in the popularity of medicinal mushrooms,” ​said Murray. “While the immune-enhancing benefits of mushrooms have received the most attention, it is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. With more commercial success, there should be increased scientific research into these natural products.”

Trend #5: Sustainable hydration 

Another emerging trend that Murray identified is the rise in the popularity of effervescent electrolyte mixes used to enhance water and promote hydration. These hydration products are available in both tablets and powdered drink mixes, and serve as alternatives to ready-to-drink electrolyte hydration drinks in wasteful, single use plastic bottles. Once used by mostly athletes, hydration products are now commonly used among the active lifestyle community. 

Murray told us that this popularity surge is due to a few reasons. “Many people are trying to get away from beverages in single-use plastic bottles. So, they are creating their own with the help of hydration products in tablet or powder form that they can add to their water. I think consumers discovered that it makes drinking water more ‘interesting.’  I also think the category benefitted, like the gummy category, from people trying to get away from pills to get their immune-enhancing nutrients. In the process, people habitually added these drink mixes to their water.”

Does social media play a role?

When asked about connections between these trends and social media platforms like TikTok, Murray said social media drives fads rather than trends. “The difference between a fad and a trend is the sustainability of growth. If you look at the five trends that I identified, all of these trends have been building for quite some time. Social media tends to create fads that will boost promoted product sales for a short time but quickly fizzle out.”

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