Trend Summit Recap - Health & Wellbeing

This year's Trend Summit featured an insightful segment in the afternoon on Health & Wellbeing, one that got underway with a panel led by Alana Macfarlane Kempner and Lisa Macfarlane, founders of The Gut Stuff. The twins were joined by Karen Poole, Head of Health at Tesco; Sophie Medlin, founder of City Dieticians and a consultant dietician; and Jen Thompson, Head of Regulatory & Compliance at The Hut Group.

The panel discussed a range of areas around the subject of gut health, diving right in from the off to discuss what exactly is meant by gut health today, kicked off by Sophie Medlin: "It's a complicated category because sometimes we're talking about gut health as in bowel conditions, and of course around 20% of the UK population live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome so when we are talking about gut health and bowel condition we are talking about only about 20% of the population which makes it confusing to many. But sometimes we're talking to people who've heard that actually they need to be looking after their gut and what does that mean and what does that look like."

Jen Thompson added insight from a consumer awareness perspective as well as looking at how the on-pack claims and explainers affect consumer decisions or understanding. Closely linked to this, Karen Poole discussed the need to help customers make healthier choices when shopping and how the small window of information absorption is so important when people are choosing from ever-busier shelves in store.

Following on from the insightful panel discussion, CEO & Co-Founder of drinks brand Nix & Kix Julia Kessler. Julia took to the virtual stage to talk about the journey so far for her brand, how to stand out as a challenger brand, how to balance social, commercial, cultural and ESG in a business model and more.

One area discussed with Charles Banks was what's the why behind the brand, the deeper meaning. "When we experimented initially on our kitchen table we were experimenting with all sorts of different types of sugars and ingredients. Both my business partner and I got problems with our teeth in three months, so we were like 'gosh' we need to find a solution which doesn't do that." When discussing the companies values, Julia said: "I think for us authenticity is really important and being open and transparent. For us as an organisation we bring the zing to everything we do which is basically having a positive mindset and having fun. That's so important because working for a challenger brand can be incredibly exhausting and time consuming."

You can watch the full discussion with Julia in the video below.

Finally, rounding out the Health & Wellbeing section was Chef and Co-Founder of London's Plates Restaurant, Kirk Haworth. Kirk joined the summit to talk about his plant-based fine dining, his uniquely personal medicinal perspective on plant-based, and also his broader approach that balances health, wellbeing and sustainability.

Following a detailed history on his journey around the world in restaurants which have helped shape the chef he is today, Kirk spoke with Charles about the health issues he's also experienced which also had an impact on his working life. Kirk spent years trying to work out what he was suffering from before eventually discovering he had Lyme disease. Taking matters into his own hands, Kirk set about on a journey towards recovery through his lifestyle choices and also the food he was eating after discovering that his body was intolerant to many of the foods he had been eating to date. Part of this recovery process was the pivot towards eating a predominantly plant-based diet.

"I wanted to silently show my pain, but through food, which a lot of people don't know that's what I'm doing. It's a message in a silent way through a lot of challenges. I find that plant-based is so challenging that it kind of merges the challenges that I've had together with the food to then create something."

Describing how his restaurant Plates came about, Kirk explained: "It's a restaurant and food studio. When we started Plates, me and my sister, I was still pretty sick but I know I needed something positive I needed to work on… I had stopped everything that I'd loved and I refused to stop cooking because I knew how good it was for my mental health. My sister is a lot of the brainchild behind Plates, she's very creative. She came up with a concept of having a food studio half the week and having a restaurant half the week. That's how we started Plates because I wasn't well enough to do 10 services a week. I just wouldn't be able to do that."

Find out more about the concept and about Kirk's unique take on leveraging the power of plant-based food in his virtual Trend Summit video below.