The revolution of wellness, health... and the pursuit of happiness.
Most of us, at some point in our lives, want to make changes in the way we live and consume to find a balance, but what does that mean? A dash of self-control? A sprinkle of focus? A teaspoon of drive? Are these the active ingredients needed to create the perfect dish of happiness? Here at 1HQ we wanted to find the answers and explore the growing trend of health and wellness.
Kate, 1HQ Senior Strategist, and I knew this journey of discovery would take grit and determination so we donned our kicks and Lycra gear and headed down to the Balance Festival in London for a working day like no other. We sensed by the event’s marketing steer that if we were going to get the most out of it, participation would be key and they weren’t wrong!
An alternative to snacking
On arrival Kate and I were greeted by multiple stalls and stands offering ‘better for you’ products i.e. alternatives to snacking! We all know that mindless eating is often part of our downfall and is often habitual, however, the message was loud and clear, snacking is OK but the choice of what you decide to snack on is critical. The onus was heavily skewed in favour of plant based products, simple protein based ingredients with fruit or cocoa flavouring manipulated in to a bar or ball.
One brand taking centre stage at the festival was RXBAR which took on a very different approach to its visual identity. Rather than celebrating nature, abundance and lifestyle, RXBAR adopt a no bullsh*t approach to design. Simplicity being the ultimate word with its minimalistic brandmark and bold list of 4 simple ingredients. It was a tasty product regardless of its hefty price point of £2.50 a bar.
The need for protein was high on the agenda at Balance Festival, with vegan alternatives a common theme. There were also a lot of female focused brands, taking a rebellious direction away from the usual black tubs with male cues that often feel more like engine oil. It made me feel that these brands wanted to position themselves as an enabler to a healthy lifestyle, rather than an extreme product to consume only for bulking and heavy lifting.
With so many brand samples, it did raise the question of what protein is healthier and how do we choose between the vast options? When Kate questioned the sales folk on the stands, they couldn’t really answer other than explain that they help fuel people who potentially don’t consume enough protein in their diets. Perhaps the increase in Veganism has contributed to this alternative source of protein.
Good for your gut
Another dietary contender to improved health and wellness was dairy and plant-based alternatives, with both Kefir and Kombucha products prominent across the festival. When 70% of your immune system is contributed to by a healthy digestive system this was one area that was really eye opening especially when we all have the want to limiting the risk of getting ill. We know that products supporting better gut health is entering the mainstream, but we were interested to see what other new trends were beginning to cut through.
This led us to explore a new type of product I wasn’t expecting to be so popular. It was all about the big buzzword Cannabis.
CBD oil, also know as Cannabidiol, is supplement and ingredient promising to deliver a benefit to our state of mind and ease inflammation and pain. Teas, pills and even CBD infused coffee were on show and the festival folk were queueing up to explore and sample. For the UK, the psychoactive THC ingredient remains illegal so no highs were experienced. It seemed that the CBD area was a one stop shop for improving our health and its high omega content was very popular as a great natural skin care alternative.
It was then time to focus on the other aspect of a balanced life, being active. RXU, BLOK and Barry’s Bootcamp to name but a few of the UKs trendy boutique workout studios who were all ready to push us to be fast, furious and fierce. Pushing your boundaries with nightclub lighting and booming bass-driven music. And, if that wasn’t enough to send your senses in to overdrive, the trainers were the loudest with their military orders of “get lower, go faster!” blaring out through their Britney Spear’s style headsets. It was absolutely brilliant fun and gave us a chance to lose ourselves and embrace the comradery with other fitness fans, with our bpm at an all-time high and our serotonin levels through the roof.
Recovery and mindfulness is the final area of wellness that proves to have a huge impact on our pursuit of a content and happy life. Without allowing your body and mind to recalibrate, we run the risk of burning out, living life tired and getting injured or sick. That being said, what a great opportunity for brands to deliver a solution to alleviate these tensions in our lives.
The ancient practices of Yoga and meditation are still widely used for recharging our bodies and minds and it’s more mainstream than we realise. From mobile apps to mindfulness retreats, it’s hugely accessible and an effective way for helping us feel good from the inside out.
So, with all of this newly found information and exposure to new brands, trends and methods experienced at Balance Festival, what is it that we can truly learn?
Complete utopian health and wellness is a way of life. It’s the food we eat, the products we buy, the active lifestyle you lead and the conscious mindfulness you chose to adopt and live by! Brands need to take note and make sure that they can adapt to this ever changing sphere that is mindfulness and wellness, providing healthier and more conscious options to their consumers that support this very visible movement or run the risk if being left in the past
Our Top 3
Kate Charman – Senior Strategist
Amongst the numerous brands at the festival, I was particularly excited about these 3 for their pioneering solutions to the changing consumer landscape and the world’s challenges:
- Upcircle Beauty, a skincare brand repurposing leftover coffee grounds and chai tea spices from coffee shops as the base of their products. As reducing food waste is high on the agenda in our quest for a sustainable planet, it’s great to see a brand striving to deliver a creative solution to this issue.
- Vive, a personalised vitamin subscription brand which clearly conveys what it does for you in an engaging way. After a consultation to learn about your lifestyle and goals, they then develop a supplement plan bespoke to you with supplements clearly calling out their function with names such as ‘the chill pill’ and ‘the energy powerpack’. Supplements can be cold and clinical but Vive are making them more engaging and straightforward. I love their approach to couture health and making supplements sexy.
- Pink Lady Bee: Set up by a lady called Tina who has defeated cancer twice and believes in everything natural and healthy. Tina’s raw honey brand, giving £1 to Breast Cancer UK with every pack. As consumers are increasingly seeking brands making a positive impact on the world, lots of brands are jumping on the ‘purpose’ bandwagon but not all brands feel credible and genuine. I loved Pink Lady Bee because of her human story and felt inspired by her determination to give a significant donation to a cause she felt passionate about with every pack.
We also saw companies using the latest developments in science to offer a more personalised solution to wellness. DNA Fit were at the festival offering a service to help you discover how your genes affect your fitness and nutrition. Atlas Biomed were also offering something similar including microbiome tests to give you an insight into your health and gut bacteria, and then giving dietary and lifestyle recommendations bespoke to your body. With advanced technology, we're looking forward to seeing how the future of health and wellness evolves.