What’s Selling is our monthly review of what retailers nationwide say is selling well in their stores. This month, we’ve compiled all of the data from October until the end of the year for the final quarter as well as looked back at all 2012 data.

The fourth quarter saw a continued demand for weight-loss aids, with branded supplements, green coffee bean extract or raspberry ketones showing up as popular in every region. Also popular was the digestion category, especially probiotics and digestive enzymes. Customers may be concerned about their weight, but they also know they should treat themselves; sodas dominated the beverage category, though kombucha and teas weren’t far behind. For food, flax and chia were everywhere, as well as gluten-free bread and pasta, meat and meat substitutes and nutrition bars. The basics were bought in the HBC category like shampoo, soaps and deodorant, but skin care, specifically skin-firming, lightening and dark circle-eliminating creams, was also hot. The Up & Coming category showed red yeast rice as a new trending supplement, while green coffee bean extract, ketones, gluten-free foods and sports nutrition continue their rise.

In the Midwest, heart-healthy supplements flew off the shelves, along with bulk grains and oils for both cooking and personal care. The Northeast stocked up on meats, bread and snack food, but made sure to wash them down with milk; multivitamins were hot here, too. Gluten-free was the key in the Southeast, along with probiotics, omega-3s and bar soap. The Southwest bought the most coconut products, weight-loss supplements and anti-aging skin creams. The West focused on children’s products, and also indulged in ginger-flavored soda and nutrition bars.

Throughout 2012, many stores reported high sales in their own private label products as well as local goods, like milk, eggs, honey and meat.

Multivitamins, specifically chewables and gummies, reigned supreme as some of the most popular delivery forms in the Supplement category in 2012. Omegas, fish oil, probiotics, weight-loss and tart cherry supplements were also popular. Thyroid and joint aids trended early in the year, while heart and bone health trended more in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Bulk grains, seeds and nuts were popular in the food category, along with gluten-free bread, pasta and pizza, nutrition bars and non-sugar sweeteners. Ostrich meat was a surprising trend in meat purchases, while nut and bean chips outsold potato. Toward the end of the year, coconut products cooled off, as well as kale and Greek yogurt. Taking the year as a whole, soda, tea, kombucha, milks, coconut water and fruit juices saturated the Beverage category, with energy drinks leveling off in popularity by the 4th quarter.

Everyone was concerned for their skin as age-defying creams, mineral cosmetics and sunscreen dominated the HBC category. Castille soap was a mainstay as well as xylitol dental care, essential oils and tea tree oil.

According to our Up & Coming category, weight-loss supplements, especially green coffee bean, will continue to be popular into 2013, along with calming and sleep-aid products, gluten-free foods, multivitamin shakes and drinks, chia and flax in food and drinks, nutrition bars, anti-aging formulas and vitality products for both men and women. WF

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2012