Set to be the ‘year of the vegan’, as the movement continues to grow, 2018 will also see the arrival of functional drinks, ‘gamified’ workouts and ‘naked’ nutrition.

Lee Forster and Charlie Turner, Founders of Neat Nutrition and former GB athletes have put together their 2018 Health and Wellness Trends Predictions.

Move over Unicorn: it’s all about the au-naturel. 2017 was undoubtedly the year of fairy-tale when it came to Insta-food. If it wasn’t Unicorns it was Mermaids – and we can’t deny embracing it ourselves. Worry not, we’re not abandoning the joys of this completely – we’re just going for striking block colours, achieved naturally. Whether it’s blue algae lattes, matcha green buns or purple ube ice-cream – think bright, beautiful and bold, with creative use of natural ingredients.

Functional Drinks: We’ve already seen a real increase in people seeking drinks that convey a health benefit, with ingredients like herbs, vitamins, or additional raw fruit or vegetables. The latest buzzword is Nootropics – also called smart or cognitive enhancers. This refers to substances that improve cognitive function – eg: memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. You can find natural nootropics as well – artichoke extract, grape seed extract, ginseng, kava kava, lemon balm, rhodiola Rosea, St John’s wort, yerba mate, caffeine, green tea. We offer a range of functional healthy drinks in our Neat café on Regent Street, as well as our supplements range.

Protein On-The-Go: It’s natural to assume that as a protein company, our core market would be fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers – and it’s not to say that these consumers aren’t important to us, because they are. However, as a lifestyle brand, we are now seeing a marked increase in customers who primarily want to improve their health or use as a food supplement integrated into their diet as part of living a healthy lifestyle. As awareness of the importance and benefits of protein grows, people from across the spectrum are seeking a convenient way of ensuring they consume enough, without having to make radical and unrealistic changes to their routines. Increasingly busy lifestyles mean that easy, no-fuss, healthy products are becoming even more popular for people on-the-go. Expect to see a rise in the protein offering at your local convenience store or major supermarket, with protein-based snacks, bars, and drinks taking up even more space on the shelves in 2018.

The Year of the Vegan: There are three and a half times as many vegans as there were in 2006 (according to The Vegan Society), making this the fastest growing lifestyle movement in the UK. More and more Brits are adopting this way of life, and we predict that this is only going to accelerate – we’ve certainly seen a marked increase in sales of our own vegan protein – by 50%. 2018 will be the year when plant butchery – already big in the US and Canada – will really start making an impact over here, with more and more ‘eat out’ options going Vegan. But you will no longer have to go all-in. There are growing numbers of plant-based-curious people who don’t want to eliminate meat from their diet entirely, but might want to eat it less often.

Naked Protein: We’ve seen an increase in people ordering our ‘Naked Protein’ – completely stripped of all flavour. We never use any artificial ingredients anyway (as a strictly natural brand we avoid them), but as consumers are becoming more adept at using protein; they’re more likely to want a neutral product that they can flavour themselves. For example, cooking with protein is far more popular these days, and a naked option is key here to avoid it monopolising the final taste.

Self-Limiting Movement: This is designed to push your limits and strengthen you from the inside out. The basis of this fitness trend is to complete a combination of exercises which are almost impossible without correct form, such as single-leg deadlift, goblet lunge and pull-ups. The aim of this style of training is to improve muscle imbalances and poor posture by improving the foundations of good skeletal and muscular health — grip strength, balance and correct posture.

Hybrid Workouts Continue: We saw a growing trend for this over the course of 2017, but predict that the mash-ups of popular disciplines are not going anywhere just yet. Whether it’s yoga crossed with spinning, or boxing with Pilates, it’s all about the merging of two workouts to achieve the ultimate results. This also gives your new favourites an update. We all went crazy for boxing and rowing this year – but in 2018 we’ll be doing the combos.

The Next Phase of Gamified Workouts: The market for incentivising digital tools is set to grow. With the likes of cycling app Peloton already an established force to be reckoned with, additions like Studio (offering boutique fitness style “running classes” that can be used on any brand of treadmill) are coming into the mix. The competition element is key, especially for those that can’t get to a class. Leaderboards (already a familiar sight on the London boutique scene), and a social component for that post-workout brag look set to stick around. This ties into the growth of VR fitness. We might be time-poor, but we can now go for scenic runs, travel the world and compete in global events without ever leaving our living rooms.

Flying Solo in Group Ex: We’ve seen it already in New York, and predict that London will follow suit, with a rise in classes based on traditionally ‘solo’ workouts. The rower will graduate from the gym to spin-style studio classes, with an instructor leading the masses in high-energy, HIIT style workouts. Much like boxing before it, we predict a new crop of specialised spaces offering a twist on gym classics such as vertical climber classes (huge in LA, where they’re used collectively to music. It’s famed there as the workout that burns between 600–800 calories in a 30-minute session).

For more information about Neat Nutrition, please visit the website.