As we step into the new year, the world of nutrition and diet continues to evolve, with 2024 bringing exciting trends that aim to improve our health without burning a hole in our pockets! From sustainable eating to our obsession with protein, let's explore the top six trends that are expected to shape the dieting world this year.
Protein is holding its ground in 2024, maintaining its status as a key player in the health and fitness world. As we know, protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, so I think it’s fair to say that it's pretty important for our overall health. Following the popularity of this specific nutrient, the protein product market continues to develop massively and is now projected by Mordor Intelligence to reach £434.67 million in 2024.
However, amidst the protein craze, it's crucial to keep an eye on the hype surrounding "high protein" products. The UK currently ranks third globally in terms of the percentage of products featuring high-protein or added-protein claims, following behind Finland and Australia. But the truth is, everyday foods you've probably been eating like eggs and chicken may already be packing a decent protein punch without the fancy marketing labels trying to draw our attention, as well as the money from our pockets.
2024 will also witness a noteworthy shift towards plant-based protein. In 2023 more people were opting for alternatives like beans, tofu, lentils, Quorn, and pea protein, not just for the health benefits but also for the environmental benefits. In fact, 29% of parents stated they had increased the amount of plant-based meat and dairy products in their children's diets within the last year, outlined by a study from Glanbia Nutritionals.
2024 is not just focused on the quantity of protein anymore; it's also about being savvy with your choices. So as you navigate the protein craze, remember that sometimes, the best sources might just be hiding in your pantry!
The field of gut health has seen significant growth over the past few years and it's not going anywhere soon! Allied Market Research states that the estimated value of the digestive health market is set to grow by $51.4 million from 2021 to 2031. Advances in research have noted the crucial link between the gut and various aspects of health, leading to increased interest in products that support a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics, once a niche area of the diet world, have become mainstream, with more people incorporating them into their daily routines for improved digestion and immunity. In fact, it is estimated that around £750,000 is spent each year in the UK on probiotic products – as told in a BBC interview with Dr. C Tullekan. Additionally, there's a rising demand for gut-friendly foods, like fermented products and fibre-rich options, as consumers recognise the importance of keeping their gut happy.
Budget-friendly nutrition is a quickly growing area as individuals begin to realise the significance of creating a healthy lifestyle but not wanting to drain their wallets. The cost of living is constantly on the rise, and new figures produced by the Office of National Statistics state that the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 8% throughout 2023. So I think it's fair to say there's a growing demand for budget-friendly yet nutritious food options. Luckily, in response to this, since 2023 we've started seeing more affordable choices, including discounted fresh produce, shop-brand alternatives, and bulk options. So let's hope for some more wallet-friendly alternatives on our supermarket shelves this year!
Heading into 2024, a big buzz is all about keeping it simple with a well-balanced diet and we're all here for it! Forget about those trendy diets and quick-fix health crazes - we are finally recognising that what matters most is mixing things up and getting a variety of nutrients in our meals. A study conducted by the British Nutrition Society found that 44% of people in the UK follow three to four of the nine eatwell guidelines and this is hoped to increase in the next couple of years.
For a well-rounded diet, everything in moderation is important – and so is keeping an eye on the longer-term effects of your choices. Balancing out crucial nutrients whilst allowing the occasional treat here and there is now being understood as a sustainable way to lead a healthy – and happier – lifestyle! This trend is not only focused on weight loss but in fact suits everyone, aiming to make you feel good inside and out!
The demand for sustainable nutrition shows no signs of slowing down, driven by a heightened awareness of environmental issues. Previous studies, such as the UN Environment Programme's Food Waste Index exposed a 17% wastage in available food and the Office of National Statistics reported that three-quarters of adults in Great Britain expressed concern about climate change, highlighting a growing desire as well as a need to make smarter food choices in 2024.
This trend is characterised by a focus on plant-based meals and locally sourced foods, reducing meat consumption, and minimising food waste. More than just a fleeting trend, the emphasis on sustainable nutrition aligns with broader global efforts to address climate change. So whilst we are trying to boost our own health in 2024, let's aim to improve the health of our planet too!
Advancements in nutritional science have paved the way for personalised nutrition. DNA testing and genetic analysis are becoming increasingly accessible, allowing people to tailor their diets based on their unique genetic makeup. This health trend considers factors like metabolism, food sensitivities, nutrient absorption and blood sugar responses providing a more precise roadmap for optimal health. Due to the rapid development of the personalised nutrition sector, Glanbia Nutritionals estimate that by 2028, the sector could be worth up to $21.4 billion, up from $8.3 billion in 2020!
Whilst it is truly exciting to have such knowledge at our fingertips, it doesn't mean that it's completely necessary for every individual. Attaining a healthy, balanced diet and being attuned to how your body responds to different foods can offer valuable insights into our own personal triggers. Our bodies have a remarkable ability to communicate discomfort or dissatisfaction, and all we need to do is listen!
So whilst the interesting world of personalised nutrition is on the rise, remember that it isn't necessarily essential (or affordable) for everyone, and actually just focusing on getting the basics right is all many of us need. This means eating more whole, minimally processed foods, choosing wholegrains over refined white starchy carbs, eating more varieties of plant-foods and steering away from having highly-processed foods too frequently.
Nutritionist Beth Furness (ANutr), holding a BSc in Nutrition and Health, is deeply dedicated to applying evidence-based knowledge to all aspects of nutrition. Her passion lies in fostering healthy relationships with food, ensuring that everyone maintains a balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition.