2023 Wellness Trend Report from the Canadian Health Food Association

CHFA NOW, Western Canada’s largest natural, organic and wellness trade show, just released its Trend Report revealing the top trends. The weekend saw over 7,600 industry leaders, investors and retailers, and nearly 1,000 brands spanning better-for-you snacks and beverages, natural health products, clean beauty and healthy home and pet.

“The momentum in the Canadian market for better-for-you brands continues to grow year over year. We had nearly 1,000 brands exhibit, shaping what investors and buyers will bring to shopping aisles in the near future,” shares CHFA President and CEO, Aaron Skelton.

Here are the top trends discovered at CHFA NOW:

Trend One: Sober-Curious Drinks Get Canned: The new wellness trend overtaking social, #sobercurious, encourages consumers to explore the benefits of sobriety on their physical, mental, and spiritual health. The non-alcoholic category is expanding with an explosion of brands launching canned zero-proof RTDs (ready-to-drink) for more convenient options, matching the growth of canned RTDs in the alcoholic category.

Trend Two: Break The Taboo – Women’s Health Goes Mainstream: Brands continue to commit to better representing women’s health issues in product development, covering period care, perimenopausal and menopausal women. Brands across Canada are using this moment to not only provide natural options but also raise awareness and education for an often overlooked category.

Trend Three: A Good Night’s Sleep: The sleep-aid market is anticipated to cross 103 billion USD by 2028 as stress levels rise and busy lifestyles grow. Growing awareness of the role sleep plays in recovery is helping to drive this trend. Brands are offering a more holistic approach to getting a better night’s sleep with natural aids, tinctures and pre-bedtime routines and rituals to better support the sleep cycle.

 Trend Four: Throwback Snacks: In addition to fashion and advertising, there has been a rise in the number of food brands incorporating nostalgic 90s trends into their flavours. From cool ranch to classic soda flavours, brands are tapping into consumers’ nostalgia to create a strong emotional connection, stand out in a crowded marketplace, and often offer a healthier alternative.

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is Canada’s largest trade association dedicated to natural, organic and wellness products. As a national not-for-profit association, our members include manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers committed to getting more healthy living products into the hands of more Canadians. 

Interview with Aaron Skelton, CHFA President & CEO

1.) What were some of the highlights of this year’s show?

CHFA NOW Vancouver was an incredible success. The trade show floor was buzzing with 6000 industry professionals and 1000 brands. The level of excitement and attendance was on par with pre-pandemic levels, proving the Canadian market for better-for-you brands is growing.

Getting the opportunity to help connect brands and retailers who are working to build this industry and help equip Canadians with more healthy living products is always my biggest highlight. But one of the most exciting parts is also getting a sneak peek of what new products consumers can expect to see filling up shelves in the near future.

CHFA NOW is the place brands go to get their products discovered in Canada. After walking the trade show floor over the weekend, four trends stood out to us: sober-curious ready-to-drink beverages, innovative products supporting life cycles such as joni’s sustainable period care, products to support your sleep routine like All Things Jill’s magnesium oil and tons of throwback snacks to give your childhood favourites a better-for-you twist.

2.) What are some of the feedback that you get from the vendors who participated?

Our team at CHFA works throughout the year to pull together Canada’s largest trade shows in Vancouver and Toronto dedicated to natural, organic and wellness products. We host a variety of retailers, buyers and category managers looking to discover brands and help them reach more Canadian consumers. And our success in connecting brands with retailers is the reason our exhibitors keep coming back.

Each year we hear inspiring success stories of how brands met with retailers at CHFA NOW and got their very first listing in retailers across Canada. We also hear of brands who got connected with a new distributor or broker and are now able to expand their business. Brands share they wouldn’t have opportunities like this without our show. We take great pride in being that connection point that helps businesses grow.

3.) How does CHFA advance the health and wellness industry, and why should brands participate?

We are Canada’s largest trade association dedicated to natural, organic and wellness. Our shared mission with the industry is to get more healthy living products into the hands of more Canadians. Our shows are one of the ways we look to achieve this – at CHFA NOW you can connect with the right people, products and ideas to help your business grow.

Beyond our CHFA NOW events, we know that growing this industry means helping brands better understand the unique perspectives of the Canadian consumer. We invest in primary Canadian consumer research helping our member companies tap into the attitudes, beliefs, and barriers to overcome so they can resonate with more Canadians.

Navigating Canadian regulations can also be challenging – especially for small/medium size businesses (which many of our members are). We do the hard work to ensure the Canadian government hears our industry concerns and educates our members on what it takes to have safe, compliant products. One of our current priorities is tackling the over-regulation of natural health products (think vitamins and supplements) that will cause the price of many products to go up and the availability of many brands to go down. If you care about natural products in Canada, I urge you to check out Save Our Supplements and help keep natural health products affordable and accessible for Canadians.

4.) How do you keep the annual show exciting? Do you have any new initiatives in mind for next year already?

We actually have two shows a year, one in Vancouver and one in Toronto. Each show has a new theme, exciting new experiences to check out on the floor, and new awards to be won.

This year, we offered a VIP program for retailers who joined us throughout the weekend. Each retailer could take advantage of tons of perks, including free food and Uber rides, which helped us give back to our planet, as we planted a tree in BC and one kelp in the pacific ocean for each retailer who attended.

5.) What was the attendance for this year’s show in Toronto and Vancouver? What about vendor participation? Do you find that the number of vendors grows each year?

As health and wellness continues to grow in Canada, we’re constantly looking for ways to grow our show and have a bigger impact on the industry. This year, we felt we were back in the swing of things. We had close to 1,000 brands exhibit, and over 7600 industry professionals joined us over the weekend. We’re already looking forward to another successful show in Toronto in September!

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