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The top 4 health and wellbeing trends of the last decade

By Melanie Kruger  |  January 6, 2020

As we head into a new decade, the wide-reaching trend for wellness is showing no signs of slowing down – in fact, if anything, it’s continuing to gather pace, promising to maintain its position at centre stage as we make our way through the 2020s.

Over the past 10 years, health and wellbeing has come on in leaps and bounds and has fast become a hot topic amongst people of all walks of life – accelerated though, of course, by health-conscious millennials. With mental health and chronic illnesses no longer the taboos that they once were and stigmas fast becoming a thing of the past, conversations around the subject of looking after ourselves, inside and out, are louder than ever – so it’s little surprise that brands, businesses and savvy individuals have been jumping on the wellness bandwagon, serving as the driving force for those trends that just won’t go away.

These days, we want more transparency in our food system, cleaner ingredients in our beauty products, and more efficient ways to cook healthy and exercise harder – and nothing less will suffice. It’s a multi-billion-pound industry that everyone wants a slice of in one way or another – us included.

It’s official; the 2010s were the decade when wellness went mainstream – but which trends have dominated the industry over the past ten years? These top six have certainly made their mark, and show no signs of fading away any time soon.

Going plant-based

As Veganuary gets into full swing in 2020, it’s clear to see that the stand-out trend of the past decade is only continuing to gather pace. Originally conceived in 2014, this month-long movement designed to get more people moving away from meat and dairy and opting to embrace a plant-based diet instead has inspired more than half a million people across 178 countries since its inception. It has worked with businesses to drive up vegan food provision in shops and restaurants.

This year over 350,000 people are expected to take part in the challenge, with the rise of Netflix documentaries such as ‘The Game Changers’ and ‘What the Health’ driving forward an increasing desire to move away from animal products in a bid to reap the health benefits – from lowered cholesterol to decreased inflammation and the reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Of course, there is more at play here than just the pursuit of wellness, with millennials easily the most environmentally-conscious generation yet. Giving more consideration to the issue of sustainability than any of those before them, going plant-based is a no-brainer when it comes to decreasing our carbon footprints – and given the current global climate change crisis, it’s little wonder this trend has stuck around.

The boutique fitness boom

While boutique fitness studios like SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp have been around since the early 2000s and have long been beloved of celebrities including David and Victoria Beckham, Katie Holmes and Kevin Bacon, it’s a trend that has charged full steam ahead throughout the 2010s, with exciting new classes popping up every week in some of London’s trendiest gyms, and fitness apps such as FIIT revolutionising at-home workouts by bringing the boutique experience to users, wherever they are.

Brands like MoreYoga – possibly one of the fastest expanding boutique yoga studio brands in the UK – has rejuvenated London’s high streets with close to 50 studios now open across the capital, while F45’s high-intensity circuit training workouts have been the latest trend to take the city by storm, dominating throughout 2019.

But boutique fitness isn’t just about attending boutique classes; it’s an entire lifestyle – and with this in mind, it’s little wonder than athleisure has become a burgeoning trend all of its own, with the industry valued at in excess of $300 billion only in 2018.

The switch to vaping

Although not exactly a wellness trend in its own right, the mass move from smoking cigarettes to vaping we’ve seen over the last decades is one we can’t ignore. The latest data released by the World Health Organisation has revealed a significant decline in the number of smokers over the past five years to just over one billion, while the daily number of cigarettes consumed has also fallen.

But conversely, the number of vapers has been on the increase, climbing from around 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2019. Brands such as Moti have led the way towards widespread change, with the global vaping industry now worth an estimated £15.5bn

The superfood sensation

Dominating shopping bags and baskets over the past ten years and continuing to increase in popularity as the plant-based trend intensifies, superfoods have long been the food items to be seen with – and, of course, to include in your daily diet to achieve the utmost in health and wellbeing.

Bon Appetite named 2012 ‘The Year of Kale’, with Time Magazine also listing it as one of the top 10 food trends of that year. Beyoncé, one of the biggest figures in pop culture, was even seen sporting a ‘Kale’ sweatshirt in one of her music videos in 2014 – cementing this leafy green vegetable’s position globally as the cruciferous choice to have on our plates.

Over the six or so years that followed, all manner of colourful ‘hero’ fruits and vegetables enjoyed their slice of the limelight and from acai to goji berries, broccoli to cherries, each has briefly been touted as the next miracle food for those in the pursuit of ultimate health.

But the biggest superfood trend of the 2010s has undoubtedly been the avocado – covering our social media feeds and seen on everything from iPhone covers to pyjamas. Now synonymous with your stereotypical millennial, it has enjoyed a renaissance quite like any other, and remains beloved of celebrities, Instagram influencers and gym-goers alike.

From ancient seeds like quinoa to store-cupboard spices like turmeric, the demand for nutrient-dense foods amongst consumers has never been higher, and the result is that they can now be found almost anywhere on restaurant menus, food blogs, and food product labels alike.

Just a few of the biggest health and wellness trends of the decade gone by, listing them all could take us all day. From gut health to pilates, juice cleanses to spin classes, whatever your preference, the chances are that you have embraced at least one of them – and as we head into 2020, we can expect to see a continuation of the establishment and elevation of such trends, with sustainability set to become just as key a consideration as personal health.

The trends that will survive and thrive in 20s remain to be seen – but our guess is that there will be many more to win us over.