The year 2015 was an exciting one in wellness and we expect 2016 to be even better for wellness enthusiasts as healthy living is sweeping the world.
Here are 10 trends to watch over the next year:
1. Juice as we know it could change forever.
It was a good year for juice companies. Coca-Cola invested $90 million for a 30 percent stake in juice company Suja with an option to buy. There are juice bars around every corner in Sydney, but strangely London still has a long way to go.
But there’s going to be a new player in 2016 that — if it lives up to the hype — will forever change the juice landscape: Juicero. Founded by former Organic Avenue co-founder and CEO Doug Evans, it has reportedly already raised more than $100 million from investors, making Juicero worth more than Suja and it hasn't even launched yet!
And the $100 million is coming from an elite group of investors including Campbell's Soup, Google Ventures, Double Bottom Line Ventures, Artis Ventures, Thrive Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Vast, according to Business Insider.
So how is a juice company that hasn’t launched yet worth so much money? Well, imagine a coffee Keurig but for juice. That’s right, yummy juice in your home sourced from farm-fresh fruits and vegetables — like the kind you’d get out of a juicer but with none of the ugly cleanup.
Sounds awesome, right? The machine won’t be cheap but will have a selection of reasonably priced juice pods to choose from. That’s the ambitious product that Juicero is working on. If they can deliver, it will change the juicing world forever.
If there’s anyone who can pull this off, it’s Doug Evans. For those in the wellness world who know Doug, he is one of the sharpest, hardest working guys around who is passionate (almost maniacal) about quality. So when you marry that passion for juice with Silicon Valley money and connections you might just have the magic combination that can really change the juicing world forever.
Stay tuned as Juicero is expected to launch in the first half of 2016.
2. Athleisure start-ups will keep ascending.
Athleisure was destined for a big 2015 when Merriam-Webster added the word to the dictionary. And later in the year Quartz reported that Vladimir Putin had made athleisure official after getting photographed in $1,400 Loro Piana sweatpants.
So what we have now is a giant land grab for the billions at play. You’ve got Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Lululemon and Land’s End flexing their marketing muscles. Fast-growing Athleta reaches new women in the fashion set with its recent Derek Lam collaboration while still being the go-to brand for barre and boutique fitness devotees.
Then there are the fashion first brands like Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley, Mara Hoffman, and Kate Spade debuting their new lines and even Beyoncé’s debuting a line with Top Shop (scheduled to hit stores in 2016).
And what might be most exciting are the newbies: Carbon 38, Sweaty Betty, Manduka, and Outdoor Voices are leading the way, each fresh off of institutional funding so they can take on the big boys in the category. We expect to see these up-and-comers continue to gain traction and some might even be acquired in 2016.
So how are these start-ups competing with these billion-dollar companies? Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney believes the secret formula is a combination of being nimble and having more of a community. She says, “Bigger brands have built very strong positioning around performance or competition — we've recognized that there are a lot of people out there that don't see themselves as an athlete per se, but are still very much interested in being active. People nowadays don't necessarily want to be told who they are — it's all about being less prescriptive and allowing people to be the 'color in the clothes.' We're shifting the perception of what it means to be active and what it looks like. I would say building a community around inclusivity rather than exclusivity is why we're seeing such great traction.”
3. We'll see more all-inclusive wellness studios.
The thing about wellness is that it’s a lifestyle. You just don’t go to a yoga class and then go to Burger King. You go to yoga and then you’re probably craving a plant-based meal. Same goes for when you go for a holistic treatment. Afterward, you probably want to hang out and meet like-minded people. Enter the birth of wellness centers.
L.A. is driving this trend with the 10,000-square-foot Wanderlust Hollywood, equipped with yoga and meditation spaces, lots of events, and a café from Seamus Mullen.
Wanderlust co-founder Jeff Krasno says, “’Retail fitness’ has typically been about churning people through their workouts and out the door. The magic of places like Wanderlust Hollywood, The Springs, and others lies in the spaces / the soft tissue — the small groups of people on the patio sipping tea, passionately exchanging ideas, telling stories, sharing dreams, making jewelry after sweating through a yoga class together. That’s juicy.”
Speaking of The Springs, it’s another great Los Angeles option to hang out with your wellness tribe. This new 13,500-square-foot center in downtown L.A. offers yoga, a café, spa, and jade-stone therapy. The Springs co-founder Jared Stein told the New York Times earlier this year that it was a no-brainer to combine wellness and dining, saying, “We figured that people who like one will also be interested in the other.”
Here in New York City I’ve heard rumblings of similar wellness-themed centers opening up within the next year. This is one trend I selfishly hope really picks up steam — sign me up!
4. Guacamole will keep climbing the culinary ranks.
It might have started in July 2015 when famed New York Times food writer Melissa Clark posted about “pea guacamole,” which she had adapted from Jean-Georges's critically acclaimed restaurant ABC Kitchen. A tweetstorm ensued, with even President Obama weighing in about the merits of peas in guacamole.
Before pea-guacamole-gate, Epicurious reported on other star-studded chefs getting creative with the traditional Mexican dish: Top chef Hugh Acheson added toasted pecans, and Alex Stupak of New York City’s Empellon added pistachios. And then there’s my personal favorite: olives via Tara Stiles Make Your Own Rules Cookbook(pictured above). We expect more chefs and restaurants to get creative with this heart-healthy fatty superfood in 2016 to prove that healthy food can also be exciting.
Celebrity chef Seamus Mullen thinks we’re just getting started, saying, “It’s no secret that the go-to wellness food of choice of 2015 was the avocado … it seems we’ve finally managed to wrap our heads around the notion of healthy fats, and avocados are one of the most approachable and diverse sources of good fats. I think that in 2016 we’re going to see more and more creative takes on guacamole and crushed avocado, adding in everything from fresh wasabi and seaweed to toasted pumpkin seeds. I think we’ll start to see Asian and even Mediterranean twists on this Mexican classic.” As we become more and more aware of the value of a high-fat, low-carb diet, we’re going to start to see alternatives to the classic tortilla chips, perhaps lower-carb options. His personal favorite? Using seaweed as a vessel for guacamole and adding in sardines, anchovies, or tuna with some spicy radish sprouts.
5. Wellness will turn to sound.
There’s lots of research that sound — or music — has the ability to influence or even alter our emotions. And in 2015 we begin to see sound as a wellness tool pick up steam through sound baths and through another experience, Mind Travel, the brainchild of Murray Hidary.
Sound Baths aren’t new, but the coverage and attention is, with the New York Times shedding light on two of the more well-known sound bath studios in Los Angeles, The Sound Space and Temple of Intuition.
Do they really work? Well, you’d have to experience it for yourself, but Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a psychiatry professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA told the New York Times that participants will often experience “deep mental and physical relaxation” that would “increase the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system tone” and decrease the stress response.
And then there’s Mind Travel, an experience like no other. Imagine a concert pianist improvising beautiful, peaceful music with imagery in the background that matches the beauty of the music — combined, it is almost meditative or trancelike. Well, that’s Mind Travel and it’s exploding. Going into 2016, Hidary plans to take his live show on the road to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Istanbul, among others. He also has a Headphone Concert Series (pictured), which he’ll be taking to Santa Monica Beach, Central Park, and San Francisco Bay.
Hidary says, “The abstract nature of these musical compositions and patterns act as a canvas for the listener to lay their personal details on to. In this way, it becomes a very intimate yet universally connecting experience. The healing occurs for the individual at both the level of their personal details as well as reuniting them with their infinite nature.”