We are officially in the midst of the holiday season. Thanksgiving leftovers are still settling in our stomachs as Christmas lights are brightening up our streets and our calendars are quickly filling with holiday engagements. This time of year has most of us taking “treat yo self” to another level by over-indulging in all the sweets, hearty meals and alcohol that comes along with the holiday celebrations. So by the time the New Year comes along, we are ready to get back on track by setting healthy New Year’s resolutions.

While most New Year’s resolutions don’t last past January, there has undoubtedly been a shift in prioritizing health and wellness throughout the year – not just in the New Year. How people approach their health has completely shifted from how they did a few years ago. Technology has made it easier for consumers to become more knowledgeable about their overall well-being and they are using nutrition, information and fitness to meet their health goals in new, personalized ways.

The health and wellness explosion has created a new and valuable consumer for the CPG industry – one that values label transparency. Click To Tweet

The health and wellness explosion has created a new and valuable consumer for the CPG industry – one that values label transparency. People are becoming more label-conscious than ever before, reading beyond the nutrition facts to the actual list of ingredients.

Take a look at the label of your favorite “healthy” snack or prepared meal and you’ll likely see a bunch of words you probably don’t know how to pronounce. You’ll probably also notice that sugar is one of the first ingredients, which explains how the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar per year. While fat used to be the enemy, people are starting to avoid sugar altogether and seek out healthy fats as a critical component to a well-balanced meal.

While consumers are becoming more informed about their food choices, the reality is that life isn’t slowing down any time soon. Americans are busier than ever before and there continues to be a need for quick snacks and meals – but who said on-the-go food has to be unhealthy?

Some consumers saw enough of a need that they took matters into their own hands. Peter Rahal and Jared Smith, for example, created the company RXBAR, which is known for simple ingredients and “no B.S.” The company has seen incredible success over the past five years, growing from a start-up in a makeshift kitchen to the fastest growing U.S. nutrition bar brand.

The new label-conscious consumer is changing the game for large CPG manufacturers and retailers, who have seen slow sales growth over the past few years. These companies – typically known for unhealthy, processed foods – are starting to take notes from successful health start-up brands, as they work to find ways to differentiate themselves and achieve growth.

Earlier this month, Kellogg bought RXBAR for $600 million in an effort to do just that. Now this week MARS – yes, the company known for candy – wants to invest in another flourishing healthy snack brand: KIND.

On the beverage side, we are continuing to see sugary sodas replaced with naturally flavored sparkling waters, like the millennial-favorite LaCroix, which continues to take market share away from brands like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in the water segment of the industry.

Clearly, simple and healthy ingredients are going to continue to become more of a non-negotiable for consumers. As these companies work to figure out how they are going to transform to meet new consumer demands, it’s important we as marketers are thinking about how we can help these products be successful in the marketplace.

By now we know transparency will continue to be highly valued by consumers. Ironically, “industry experts” told RXBAR it was a big mistake to emphasize its ingredients on the packaging. Now, they’ve started a trend in the industry as consumers are coming to expect this level of transparency with other brands.

How do you think health and wellness trends will change in the new year? How will these trends impact marketing in 2018?