It’s that time of the year again: when I sit down and think about what I believe is going to be big in terms of trends and movements in the eco wellness world. Trend forecasting is definitely one of my favorite parts of the job and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. It helps that I read maniacally. Literally, everything and everywhere. In the past couple of years, there’s been a big focus on stuff trends- what to buy, what to wear, what to own. It’s really nice to be able to say that this year, the trends I foresee are mostly stuff-free. There are all these great movements bubbling below the surface of our lives about having fewer things, about owning less, wasting less, needing less…They are about caring for our planet that little bit extra. And perhaps, along the way, experiencing more. And sap that I am, it somehow makes me feel just that little more hopeful about the future of humanity in this crazy, messed-up world. -Green Queen xx
Conscious Consumerism Is On The Rise
The age of the conscious consumer is upon us. The term may be seem oxymoronic, but the truth is, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the consequences of what we buy, how we buy and where we buy it from. The push for brands to be more mission-led, to have sustainable and ethical supply chains, to care about the triple bottom line can no longer be ignored, especially when it comes to millennials, now the largest consumer generation on the planet. Big Business: dismiss at your own peril.
The Plant-Based Revolution Gains Ground
Millennials care about what they eat and where it comes from. With the evidence against the environmental and health costs of eating meat becoming harder to ignore, more and more millennials are eating few animal products and making plants the focal part of their diet. This trend is going absolutely nowhere. Flexitarianism, also known as semi-vegetarianism, a term describing individuals who strive to eat mostly plants but are not strict vegans, is the eating fad du jour. Committed vegans may hate it (yes, it’s basically a new word for an omnivore diet with an underlined emphasis on the plant portion) but we welcome a movement which reduces the demand for (industrial) meat and helps people make a transition towards elimination animal products altogether.
You Will Meet More And More Vegans
Veganism is on the rise everywhere, led in no small part by social media stars who have helped educated, inspire and comfort aspiring vegans everywhere with their tight-knit communities, useful resources and Insta-worthy food pics & recipes that show the world a life sans meat is seriously worth eating! Vegans now get more attention from brands and designers (finally!) so we expect to see a lot more innovation when it comes to vegan fashion, beauty and other lifestyle products.
Plant Based Meat & Seafood Alternatives Will Flourish
People eating less meat need meatless solutions for their dairy, meat and seafood cravings. Last year saw a proliferation of companies creating plant-based burgers, seafood and plant-based dairy and experiencing phenomenal success- in some cases even outselling the animal version! Expect to see a LOT more headlines about new plant-based products intended to replace meat, dairy & seafood and Big Food buying up these . And get excited: Just Scramble, Hampton Creek’s just-like-the-real-thing egg-replacement product made from mung beans is launching at Green Common cafes in Hong Kong (the first location outside of its US headquarters) in two weeks.
Zero Waste Will Go Mainstream
It’s been almost a decade since Bea Johnson launched a global zero waste revolution with her seminal book Zero Waste Home. Since then, organizations, bloggers and waste activist communities have proliferated across the world, inspiring us all to reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse and rot in our daily lives but we predict that 2018 will be the year that the zero waste movement goes seriously mainstream. Watch this space.
Plastic Free Living Will Become The Norm
It’s pretty hard to refute that the oceans are ‘drowning’ in plastic at this point. Plastic particles pollute our seas, our waterways, our soil, our fish and our children’s bodies. We’ve only got one way forward: stop using plastic. Or at the very least: use less of it. Especially single use plastic, the biggest offender of plastic pollution. Straws, plastic bags, fast food containers, coffee cups, water bottles, we must find and commit to non-disposable alternatives. Think metal straws, reusable plastic wrap, BYO lunch boxes, carrying water bottles in your bag- expect to see more of these in stores and more people around you bringing their own plastic-free solutions to shops and restaurants. Zero wasters are already all over this one and so should you be.
Food Waste Will Be Tackled More Seriously
Food waste is such a colossal problem (one third of food produced globally is wasted) that we now have a new global Food Sustainability Index ranking with nations graded on factors such as agricultural sustainabiltiy and nutrition quality. France grabbed first place- thanks to its inspiring commitment to anti supermarket food waste regulation, the country loses less than 2% of its total food production per year. Here in Hong Kong, the situation is abysmal but we predict big improvements this year thanks to passionate activists pushing the government had on polluter-pays schemes.
Bulk Shopping Will Become More Commonplace
Are you seeing a pattern here? Hand in hand with the zero waste philosophy is the idea that we should avoid packaging whenever possible. Cue the boom in bulk grocery and personal care shops in Australia, Malaysia, Germany and the US, where you can bring your own containers and fill them up from bulk bins. We have one in Hong Kong already in K-11 and we are about to get our first 100% bulk zero waste grocery store in Sai Ying Pun in early Feb. Yay!
Other trends we foresee gaining momentum:
- Ancestral Food Preparation: dry aging, sprouting, pickling- these techniques have been obsessed over in dedicated forums and blogs and specialty restaurants but we see these becoming commonplace on restaurant menus and in home kitchens.
- Personalized Vitamins & Supplements: the one size fits all approach is done. Thanks to advancements in DNA testing and micro-biome testing, people now realize that we really are all very different. Cue a plethora of startups like Care/Of offering vitamin packs specially for your needs.
- Meditation Gyms: beyond fitness and yoga, there’s now a quest for inner peace and a slower life. Fitness centers are getting on board with more meditation and mindfulness classes on the roster- a good example is the class schedule at Pure Pacific Place.
- Nature-Led Leisure: from forest therapy walks to shinrin-yoku to the rise in eco tourism, our digitally-dominated over-connected selves are desperate for the soothing solace of nature.