Food & drink wellness trends for 2018

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Plenish Gut Health Programme. Picture: Plenish.
Plenish Gut Health Programme. Picture: Plenish.

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Kara Rosen, founder of the organic pressed juice and dairy-free nut milk brand, Plenish, reveals her predictions of the trends set to land in 2018.

Go with your gut


'Think of the gut as the finely tuned engine of a racing car. To get the fastest time on the track, you need the right fuel. The gut is where important energy-yielding nutrients are absorbed and transported around the body, so it’s how our tanks are topped up. 

Whilst studies have shown for some time now a clear link between good gut health and physical and mental wellbeing, in 2018 this will become a much bigger part of the public’s consciousness.  

We will see the wellness agenda focus on the importance of a healthy microbiome to improve four key areas - Immunity, Energy, Bloating and Mental Wellbeing. 

When it comes to supporting mental wellbeing, good gut health is key. The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” as it contains 80% of the body’s immune system, 95% of serotonin receptor sites and millions of other neurons and chemical receptors. So good gut health has massive implications on how we might consider mood disorders, anxiety, depression, general mood and performance. 

Recent research has shown certain gut microbes can produce their own neuro-transmitter chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and GABA which could mean that bacteria could directly influence the way we think and behave. Never has the phrase ‘gut instinct’ been so fitting. 

We predict an increase in the consumption of prebiotic and probiotic rich foods and drinks. For this, we have created the Plenish Healthy Gut Programme a seven-day programme to get your gut healthy and fit.  

It contains Plenish Probiotic Water+ drinks, organic juices and Nut M*LKS, soothing teas and original organic pre-and probiotic recipes for dairy-free foods like dairy-free yogurt and Sauerkraut. 

The plant powered generation

We’re seeing an increasing number of Brits adding milk substitutes in their diet. The proof is in the numbers and the “post-milk generation” is showing its power at the tills – the dairy alternative category now worth £384m and growing 18% year on year. 

There’s many reasons why so many people have switched to, or are considering a move to dairy alternatives – a dairy free diet is not just for the lactose intolerant, some studies have shown it can benefit the appearance of skin and aid weight loss.  

In Dr. Nigma Talib’s (skin doctor to the stars) book Reverse the Signs of Ageing​, she devotes a chapter to what she calls ‘Dairy Face’. Common symptoms of consuming too much dairy can include swollen eyelids, dark circles, white bumps and chin spots, which is why she recommends eliminating dairy from your diet.

Dairy alternatives can be beneficial to people trying to lose weight as they typically contain fewer calories than skimmed milk – around 60 per serving. That is about 50% less than cow’s milk, with no cholesterol. Many nutritionists also say almond milk is better than soya milk for weight loss as it is lower in fat, carbohydrates and calorie content, but has more calcium.

As dairy-free alternatives don’t rely on cows, there is no need to worry about climate-warming methane and animal welfare issues, reasons that many of the “post-milk generation” cite as the reason why they are ditching dairy.

With many traditional dairy based brands exploring milk-free alternatives, the options for substituting dairy in your diet are endless and nutritional. If anyone is thinking about introducing dairy-free alternatives in their diet, the easiest place to start is milk. 

The healthy snacking movement


In 2018 we are going to see even more of an increase in demand for tasty and nutritionally sound ‘on the move’ snacks for people with busy lifestyles. It’s a sector that has outpaced the overall food and beverage sales growth in previous years.

There is a growing preference amongst healthy snackers for products to taste great, use innovative flavors and ingredients whilst still having health benefits. The health bar market has grown significantly with high-protein bars flooding the market. These do have their limitations when it comes to texture and taste, so nutritious, high protein drinks are set to take turn consumers heads next year. 

To accommodate the discerning palate of the healthy snacker, we have taken our best-in-class Nut M*LKS and created a grab-and-go chocolate flavored almond milk. Sized at 250ml and priced at £1.99 they are a convenient and nutritious tasty treat, high in protein and packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Two additional flavors are due to be added to the range later in the year.'

Plenish was launched with a range of cold press juices and cleanses in 2012 by Kara Rosen, a former executive at Conde Nast. The brand extended its portfolio with the introduction of its nut-based M*LK range in January 2016, adding Coconut M*LK in May 2017 to coincide with its launch across Sainsbury’s UK supermarkets. 

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