Boutique gyms strengthen bodies and small businesses alike

The room is dimly lit with flashing green accent lights. Loud music pulses from the speakers overhead. People are sweating to the beat in stylish, form-fitting attire. No, this is not a scene from Saturday night at the hottest nightclub in town. It’s the 5:30 a.m. Tread & Shred class at Fly Feet Running, which is just one of many boutique fitness studios to have recently opened in Minneapolis.

For many, going to the gym used to entail battling the crowds for elliptical time at one of the “big box” chains. But thanks to cool kid indie brands like SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp, the one-size-fits-all gym model is being replaced by highly specialized workouts hand-crafted by local entrepreneurs at boutique studios.

From 2012 to 2015, membership at traditional fitness clubs grew by five percent, while membership at smaller studios saw growth of … Read More »

Getting people back into the aisles

An obstacle for the CPG industry in recent years has been the trend toward “shopping the perimeter.” As a focus on health and wellness driven by Conscious Consumers has grown, shoppers have been told to stick to the outer edges of the grocery store where fresh foods live and to avoid the aisles where processed foods abound. While the “trend” may be more of a permanent change in shopping behavior, business decisions and marketing activities need to work together for CPG brands to draw shoppers to the aisles or reach consumers on the perimeter.

One category that draws Conscious Consumers to the aisle is functional foods. Defined by Mayo Clinic as foods that have a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition, functional foods may include superfoods like avocados, berries and salmon that are found on the store perimeter. But they … Read More »

Destination health: Traveling Conscious Consumers are guided by wellness

Whether they’re vacationing or road warrior-ing, Conscious Consumers are taking their wellness-oriented mindsets along for the ride. And, increasingly, brands and services are helping them preserve – or jump-start – healthy practices around fitness, nutrition and mindfulness.

The early adopter group that we call the Torchbearers are the health and wellness explorers. They boast the strongest commitment to proactively managing for an all-around healthy lifestyle, they’re the pioneers of this trend trail. They were the first to show interest in and to embrace the ‘wellness away from home’ services and amenities that have morphed from obscurity to mainstream. Now travelers from across the health-centric spectrum are jumping on board.

Not only are consumers able to travel without skipping a beat (Forgot your running shoes? Fairmont has you covered. Need to fit in a 10-minute meditation? Stop by Miami International Airport’s yoga room … Read More »

The Reality of Health and Wellness in 2017: Be nimble and stay focused

Health and Wellness is a category that stretches far and wide. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it may not even be a category, but rather an umbrella that stretches over multiple categories housing products and services ranging from fashion, tourism, fitness and alternative medicine to food and beverage and more. According to, Health and Wellness is soon to be the next trillion-dollar category. Yes, trillion.

The Health and Wellness space has always been very fluid with newcomers entering and exiting and only a few seem to hold the test of time. Trends and fashions come and go: In the fitness arena it was Jack Lalanne in the 70’s followed by Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” and Jazzercising with Olivia Newton John in the 80’s. Today we’ve got “your craziest 30 minutes of the day,” Insanity … Read More »

Three food trends that speak directly to Conscious Consumers

Trends come and go. It’s what they do. It’s in their nature. But some trends signal a huge change in consumer attitudes and behaviors. What’s sometimes perceived as small trend can actually be the beginning in a series of seismic shifts for an entire generation. That’s why we started studying Conscious Consumers – we could see and feel the effects of specific trends building momentum for a dramatic cultural shift. It’s also why we continue to look at category trends in this blog, so we can share what we learn about their interests.

Conscious Consumers are hungry for healthy choices; and how that plays out in the food space is almost always in flux. These three trends that are currently satisfying their appetite.

Functional Foods

Conscious Consumers are shifting away from eliminating foods – like butter or eggs – to focus on ingredients … Read More »