New trend predictions from Boston-based FRESH Communications offer a FRESH perspective on how journalism focused on health, food, and lifestyle will evolve in 2023.
The predictions for wellness media come from the media experts (and registered dietitians) at the woman-owned public relations firm for better-for-you brands.
Credibility is king
Disingenuous news is on the rise, and journalists are concerned. According to the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of journalists say misinformation is a significant problem in the US. Unfortunately, nutrition news is no exception. At the same time, more people are self-educating about their food, where it comes from, and how it interacts with their bodies. While people may learn about nutrition trends on social media, they often turn to traditional news to confirm or debunk those trends.
Journalists understand this responsibility. They also know that registered dietitians are the authority on food and nutrition. According to the 2022 Food & Health Survey by the International Food Information Council, 71 percent of consumers are confused about what to believe when it comes to nutrition, 28 percent trust influencers, 31 percent trust companies, and 66 percent trust registered dietitians. Therefore, journalists are seeking registered dietitian expertise now more than ever.
“Registered dietitians are becoming one of the most crucial voices in media today,” said Stephanie Ferrari, MS, RDN, president and co-founder of FRESH Communications, in a news release. “Journalists and consumers are demanding more authoritative voices when it comes to nutrition. They are craving clarity around food. As dietitians, we are on a mission to un-muddy the waters with science-based, accurate messaging.”
Furthermore, Google’s E-A-T algorithm (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) gives SEO priority to health-related articles that include credentialed health professionals as sources. According to Google, “High E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism—they should contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding.” With this in consideration, FRESH Communications predicts that registered dietitians are going to be in high demand for content in 2023.
Food as medicine—in surprising ways
In the new year, we’ll see journalists investigate food as medicine on a deeper level. For example, articles about skin ailments will go beyond dermatologists and recommended skin care products. We’ll see more articles like this one from Well + Good that explore how probiotic-rich foods can help battle eczema.
Journalists are also going beyond macronutrients. They are considering the connection between wellness and more granular aspects of nutrition such as amino acids, minerals, phytochemicals, and even cannabinoids.
“Journalists are embracing the evolution of science,” said Sheri Kasper, RDN, LDN, CEO and co-founder of FRESH Communications, in the release. “We’re talking to media about the interactions between food and sleep, brain health, gut health, reproductive health…the list goes on!”
“Nourish” is the new “diet”
Media is growing more savvy about the connection between nutrition science and behavioral science. They understand that food restriction can lead to yo-yo dieting which may have unhealthy ramifications. As a result, there has been a shift away from diets and extreme eating plans toward nutrition as part of holistic self-care.
“People don’t want to be told what to not to eat,” said Kasper. “The minute you’re told you can’t have a brownie, what do you want? A brownie of course! While some restriction is necessary for certain medical conditions, the general public wants to be told what to add to their diets rather than what to subtract.”
FRESH Communications predicts that media will follow suit on this trend. Journalists will focus on “nourishment” rather than “dieting” and produce more content on what to eat rather than what not to eat. Wellness media will explore topics like intuitive eating, performance-based nutrition, and the connection between nutrition and emotional well-being. We may even see more media outlets ban words like “skinny” entirely.
“There is an increased cognizance around how popular media impacts peoples’ perceptions of their own bodies and eating habits,” said Ferrari. “Journalists are choosing their words carefully when it comes to nutrition advice, so brands seeking earned media coverage should too.”