Over the last few years’ consumers have drastically reshaped the agenda around the health and wellness industry. Through a combination of increased awareness, education, insightful documentaries, TV shows, celebrity endorsements (and the occasional marketing, budget), customers have become increasingly demanding in their pursuit of achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Businesses have also had to adapt to the changing nature of work, with HR managers and business owners implementing relatively new concepts that were unheard of a few years ago. Whether it’s the ethical considerations of supporting the mental health of staff or the more practical implications that a healthy and happy workforce can have a tangible impact on productivity, the health and wellbeing industry has become big business. In the UK alone it was worth over £22 billion during 2017.

Innovative startups that had to foresight to anticipate these emerging trends have benefited from creating a variety of products, all designed to appeal to an increasingly health-conscious audience.

One area that’s proved to be particularly popular is health and wellness orientated subscription boxes. Essentially a recurring subscription service that physically delivers niche products, subscription boxes are packaged together to provide the customer with a novel experience, while saving them a trip to the shops. If you’ve ever heard of Graze or Lootcrate, you probably get the idea.

According to Forbes, the number of subscription box subscribers has grown by over 800% since 2014, and they’re arguably one of the hottest trends in UK e-commerce at present. With a number focusing on the health and wellbeing industry, they provide the customer with the opportunity to experience new products and discover exciting brands each month.

With the trend for subscription boxes set to expand, here’s a look at some notable inclusions over the last year, and how health and wellbeing trends may change for 2018.

BuddyBox: from the Blurt Foundation

Billed as “a hug in a box”, Buddy Box is a unique, novel and thoughtful way to show someone who’s suffering from depression and anxiety, that you care.

The box – which is completely gender-neutral – contains useful and supportive products that help to foster self-care. While no one believes that the complexities of depression and anxiety can be solved with a simple box, the idea is that when you feel alone and that no one understands you, the Buddy Box simple shows that a friend or loved one cares.

The subscription service is part of The Blurt Foundation, founded in 2011 by CEO Jayne Hardy. Initially, a website and support network for people suffering from depression, in 2014 the organization was awarded a grant from UnLtd, and after a flash of inspiration, the Buddy Box was born. In keeping with the companies ethos, any profits are used by The Blurt Foundation in order to provide peer support for those affected by depression.

Care/of

Care/of describe themselves as a healthcare technology company dedicated to simplifying consumer health. The novel idea is that you take a quiz based on your lifestyle, eating habits, routine, and goals, and the technology will develop a fully personalized vitamin pack, recommending what types of vitamins and supplements you may need.

Launched in November 2016, Care/of has now raised over $15 million in funding, quickly emerging as a market leader in an incredibly short period of time.

Based on the assumption that each person’s health journeys are unique, Care/of is one of the fastest-growing companies in the direct-to-consumer health and wellness space, with revenues doubling every two months since launch.

Since it’s launch the company has grown to 60 employees, including a fully proprietary fulfillment center, and the inclusions of a scientific advisory board of leading doctors and nutritionists from Harvard. Care/of is a great example of how quickly a subscription service can expand if you find the right niche and offering.

Yogi Surprise

This yoga themed subscription box includes a monthly delivery of essentials for yoga enthusiasts.  Labeled as a “retreat in a box”, each vegetarian-friendly box includes six-to-eight full-size products that help support health and wellbeing.

From handcrafted yoga accessories and natural beauty items to herbal tonics, organic snacks and super food essentials, Yogi Surprise is the 5th subscription box service started by founder Jameson Morris.

Its success to date is in part due to selecting a strong niche. Yogi’s are often passionate about what they do, very active online and engaged on social media. Combined with the fact that yoga is one of the fastest growing categories in consumer spending, the subscription box has captured a niche audience and is set to expand in 2018.

Lifebox

Lifebox is another monthly subscription service that delivers a selection of super health foods, snacks, and drinks, under the premise that healthy eating promotes prevention, rather than the need for a cure.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that noncommunicable diseases (conditions often associated with poor lifestyle choices) account for almost 70% of deaths worldwide, Lifebox has focused on a niche that’s a hot topic in the news, and a major concern for the UK’s NHS.

First formed in 2014 by Jenny Sleath, Lifebox is designed to encourage daily energy, vitality & healthy digestion. With different options available for both men and women, there’s also an “everyday” box of vegan and gluten & dairy free products.

Supporting the wellness revolution and ideals that food is medicine, each month customers can discover the latest health food brands that help assist the bodies natural processes, all from the comfort of their own home.

With subscriptions set to increase throughout 2018, many of the successes to date have become successful by focusing on a niche and tapping into the primary concerns of an increasingly health-conscious public. Gaps in the market still exist, but it will become increasingly difficult to find a point of difference throughout 2018.