The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022

As the world navigates — and begins to recover from — the enormous challenges born out of more than two years living through a global pandemic, the wellness industry’s biggest and brightest players continue to demonstrate the vast opportunities that exist for those that can evolve, diversify and take risks.

Within this exciting new era of wellness, new sub-categories are being created, disruptive partnerships are being forged and billions of dollars from high-profile investors are helping to drive innovation to the next level.

As wellness remains at the forefront of our consciousness — only growing in relevance — future-thinking brands are proving that by paying close attention to their customers and bending to new needs and expectations, they can lay the tracks for a future that’s even more initiative, connected and accessible. And make a positive impact, not only on the wellness industry but the wider world too.

So, what can we expect from the business of wellness in 2022? And which brands will dominate the headlines over the next 12 months? 

Here’s our annual rundown of the wellness brands we predict will continue to break ground and disrupt the industry over the forthcoming year, thanks to their pioneering approaches, cutting edge products and services and expert minds…

Mindbody (wellness tech)

From launching a new Livestreaming fitness platform to delivering a fresh lead management engine that helps wellness businesses to unlock growth, over the past two years Mindbody has been doubling down on its core software and product development to better serve clients and consumers in a post-COVID landscape. 

Its biggest move yet, however, came last year when the provider of technology to fitness, beauty, spa and salon businesses around the globe announced it would be joining forces with ClassPass in a merger aimed at “leading the industry out of Covid”.

In one of the most seismic deals to hit the wellness industry since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the acquisition brings two of the sector’s most prominent leaders together, creating a one-stop shop for both business owners and consumers.

“This is a ‘better together’ story,” Mindbody’s CEO Josh McCarter told Welltodo at the time of the announcement. “It’s really about how we can accelerate our mutual mission, which is about connecting the world to wellness and democratising access to wellness and making it available to more people.”

A $500 million strategic investment secured by Mindbody in conjunction with the acquisition — from a group led by leading global investment firm Sixth Street — together with the continued support of Mindbody’s majority investor and partner Vista Equity Partners, has been earmarked to help further accelerate the company’s growth and drive product innovations and investments made throughout the pandemic.

The investment will also power the newly introduced Mindbody Capital, similar to that offered by Shopify and Square, which gives small business owners access to financing to help them invest in and grow their business. Together both brands plan on powering this new era of wellness. Read More

The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022
Image: Gymshark
Gymshark (athleisure)

Gymshark, the disruptive athleisure brand set up in 2012 by a then teen-aged entrepreneur Ben Francis, reached unicorn status in 2020 after securing investment from General Atlantic.

Launched as an exclusively direct-to-consumer brand, the company, which has grown its turnover tenfold over the last four years rising to $550 million in 2021, now employs more than 900 members of staff and boasts headquarters in both the UK and US. 

Having cultivated a global community of more than 12 million followers under the proviso of ‘uniting the conditioning community’, throughout the pandemic the brand has made several real-time changes to reflect and support the needs of its audience — this has further helped to cement its status as a consumer-centric company that puts its money where its values are.

Having stepped down as CEO in 2017, Francis is now back in the driver’s seat and is already making some big decisions.

2022 will see the launch of the company’s first physical store on London’s iconic Regent Street — the three-floor, 18,000 sq ft space will offer retail shopping, events, hangouts, workout studios and create over 100 jobs in the London area.

In a video shared on his personal YouTube channel about the new site, Francis hinted that “the vast majority of the store will not be dedicated to selling Gymshark products”, with the focus instead being to unite the brand’s community in real life.

“It’s going to be experiential and we want to bring as much of that Gymshark vibe and community into this place,” Francis said. “We’re trying to build a brand that lasts longer than any of us. I think the real purpose of this store needs to be to really cultivate the Gymshark community and connect with people and inspire as many people to get into fitness as possible.”

As the business enters its next phase of growth it is focused on becoming a truly global brand — a bolstered board featuring US entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and planned expansion across other parts of the world are likely to produce more big milestones for the brand over the next 12 months. Read More

Headspace (meditation & mental wellness)

Founded in 2010 by former monk Andy Puddicombe and Co-founder Richard Pierson, meditation app Headspace has scaled to become one of the global leaders in the multi-billion-dollar meditation category.

Alone, the app has reached more than 70 million users in 190 countries and is reported to have grossed more than $5.5 million in revenue in 2020, up 31.2% year-over-year.

Widely regarded as a pioneer of the much-replicated guided meditation model that helped to bring the practice to the masses, in more recent years the company has made moves to appeal to a wider audience through creative collaborations and partnerships.

Now, it is focused on harnessing its power and applying it to other areas of peoples’ lives, as demonstrated by its recent merger with Ginger — an on-demand mental health platform.

The strategic move will see the brands form a combined entity called Headspace Health. This, they argue, will create “the world’s most accessible and comprehensive digital mental health and wellbeing platform”.

Both brands have garnered an engaged following and caught the attention of investors, raising more than $200 million respectively. However, together as Headspace Health, the two companies will be able to serve consumers, employers and health plans in a more holistic way that’s underpinned by clinical expertise.

“We are witnessing a mental health crisis unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, yet the majority of mental healthcare today is neither broadly accessible nor affordable,” commented CeCe Morken, CEO of Headspace recently.

“Together, as Headspace Health, we will address the systemic challenges of access and affordability in a fundamentally different way by creating the world’s most holistic, scalable and effective mental health and wellbeing company.”

The combined company plans to use technology to scale affordable, accessible care to people around the world, reaching nearly 100 million lives across all 50 US states and in 190+ countries worldwide. Read more

The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022
Image: Supernatural
Supernatural (fitness tech)

Launched in 2020 by Within, Virtual Reality (VR) platform Supernatural has been making some pretty big waves with its subscription-based, full-body fitness service.

Designed for Oculus Quest and paired with the user’s smartphone, it delivers expertly coached daily workouts, detailed fitness tracking, an expansive catalogue of music and a selection of backdrops featuring some of the world’s most beautiful locations. The immersive offering, which aims to make home exercise fun and something people actually look forward to doing, has grown in prominence during a time when the role of fitness as a form of entertainment — a trend we highlight in our 2022 Consumer Wellness Trends Report — is capturing the attention of consumers, investors and other stakeholders alike.

By connecting with consumers who now expect the at-home fitness brands they are buying into to offer heightened, multi-faceted experiences with a side of sweat, it is pioneering a new era for VR experiences, a market that is predicted to reach $69.60 billion in value by 2028.

Confident in the platform’s role in that future growth, Meta (formerly known as Facebook)  acquired Within, in October 2021. The move forms part of its plans to build out a set of virtual spaces where its users can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as them — otherwise known as the metaverse.

“We are excited because our partnership with Meta means we will have more resources to expand and bring you even more music, more creative ways to workout, more features and more social experiences for VR,” Within CEO Chris Milk and Head of Fitness Leanne Pedante wrote in a blog post.

“Together we will also explore ways we can enhance future hardware to support VR fitness apps, encouraging other developers to bring new fitness experiences to VR,” Meta’s VP of Play Jason Rubin commented in a separate post. “We believe fitness will be a massive success in VR where multiple third-party fitness apps can succeed,” he added.

Sweetgreen (F&B)

Since launching in 2007, US-based healthy salad chain Sweetgreen has been disrupting the $800 billion US restaurant industry by rethinking the customer experience and challenging traditional ways of what it means to be a fast-food company.

Every day, across its 97 restaurants (outposts), over 4,000 team members make food from scratch, using fresh ingredients and produce to cater to a cult following of customers. According to the brand, pre-pandemic, outpost customers were its most habitual users, with the average outpost customer ordering approximately six times per quarter.

And, despite a sharp shrinkage in sales due to the closure of its physical sites during the pandemic, it has quickly recovered thanks to its speedy shift to digital and investment in cutting edge technology.

Last year the restaurant chain raised a further $2 million in a funding round co-led by Lone Pine Capital and D1 Capital Partners to further futureproof its evolved offering.

“We’re building a new type of food company and a sustainable supply chain to challenge how we think about real food, explore innovative new retail formats, and elevate the consumer experience,” said Jonathan Neman, Co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, at the time. 

“This foundation will allow us to push boundaries and broaden our impact, doing even more with our suppliers, partners, and technology so that together we can bring about industry-wide change, he added.

With over 50% of the brand’s orders now taking place through digital channels, it believes that mobile dining has cemented itself as the next phase for the future of food. To meet the expectations of its evolving customer base, it is now focused on testing and deploying emerging technologies.

In August, the brand announced its intention to acquire Spyce, a Boston-based restaurant company powered by automation. It is hoped the acquisition will allow the brand to reimagine healthy fast food with even better quality, consistency and efficiency.

Off the back of its recent IPO, which saw the brand raise $364 million, it plans to use the injection of capital to further develop this technology. Read more

The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022
Image: Clue
Clue (sexual wellness)

A leader in the femtech space, Clue’s period tracking app which launched in 2012, boasts over 12 million users from 190 different countries. One of the fastest-growing femtech companies worldwide, it aims to support research into the world’s understanding of the menstrual cycle and has forged collaborations with researchers at various prestigious universities.

As part of its mission, last year the company announced a partnership with beauty giant L’Oréal to connect the dots between skin health and the menstrual cycle.

The collaboration will see L’Oréal utilise data from Clue’s app to co-create in-app skin-care advice related to hormones, demonstrating the opportunities that exist for brands to cater for consumers looking for bespoke, real-time solutions.

The feature, which uses tracked period start dates to allow women to monitor their fertility and prevent pregnancy, combines the user’s menstrual cycle data with a mathematical model derived from clinical research data to predict which days they are at high or low risk for pregnancy.

Now, following a €16 million financing round, the next step in its journey revolves around the launch of medical-grade features within the Clue app — the first of which is Clue Birth Control, its FDA-cleared digital contraceptive, which is now being rolled out to eligible users in a limited US launch. 

The feature, which uses tracked period start dates to allow women to monitor their fertility and prevent pregnancy, combines the user’s menstrual cycle data with a mathematical model derived from clinical research data to predict which days they are at high or low risk for pregnancy.

“This launch signals a new chapter for Clue as a medical device company in the United States, with our sights set on bringing this new feature to people with cycles in countries around the world,” explained Founder Ida Tin in a recent blog post on the brand’s website.

“It’s an ambitious vision — one that requires a new set of skills to work with regulators, to continue and strengthen our partnerships with scientific researchers and build new features at a global scale,” she added. Read more

Eight Sleep (sleep tech)

Founded in 2014, a successful crowdfunding campaign and series of fundraising rounds led to the launch of Eight Sleep’s original Pod Pro Mattress in 2019, recognised by TIME magazine as one of the best inventions of the year two years running.

By tapping into the demand for health tracking devices that make it easier for individuals to quantify and optimise their everyday lives, the startup — which makes smart mattresses and mattress covers that utilise thermoregulation, machine learning and other artificial intelligence to improve the user’s sleep — has cemented itself as a favourite among the high-performers of the world. Now, like most premium wellness tech, it’s banking on a trickle-down effect to capture the attention of the mass market.

Backed by a recent $86 million Series C funding round, which propelled the company’s total raised to $150 million and skyrocketed its valuation to almost $500 million, the startup is currently ramping up global expansion — its first stop being the UK.

“Our goal is to offer the most sophisticated technologies for restorative and preventative health to people everywhere,” commented Matteo Franceschetti, Co-founder and CEO of Eight Sleep recently. 

“Expanding to the UK is a step towards helping people all over the globe to achieve optimal health via Eight Sleep’s patented technologies and products,” he added.

With the appetite for health tracking devices continuing to grow, as consumers increasingly gravitate towards the use of technology that can measure and metricise everything from heart rate, blood pressure, sleep and more to guide healthier lifestyle choices, Eight Sleep is on the right path. And investors are clearly confident in its potential to cement itself as a leader in the global sleep market, which is on track to reach $585 billion by 2024.

However, the sleep tech market is still very much in its infancy, which means educating and engaging consumers will be a key driver of its future growth. Read more

The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022
Image: Thirteen Lune
Thirteen Lune (beauty & body retail)

Thirteen Lune, a first of its kind, e-commerce destination designed to inspire the discovery of beauty brands created by Black and Brown founders is reframing how Black and Brown beauty brands are perceived, not only from an industry perspective but also for the consumer.

Launched in 2020 by Nyakio Grieco, whose previous award-winning skincare brand Nyakio Beauty sold to Sundial Brands and Patrick Herning, Founder and CEO of size-inclusive e-commerce platform 11 Honoré, the platform counts itself as a vehicle for change and a space for authentic allyship. 

According to the brand, the diverse team behind it is committed to working toward progress and creating financial parity for beauty and wellness brands serving the Black and Brown community, swiftly, strategically and effectively. And it already counts Sean Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beautycounter Founder Gregg Renfrew as investors, alongside Fearless Fund, which led the startup’s recent $3 million raise.

This latest capital injection, it says, will be used to accelerate production of its private label line, improvements to its supply chain and to build out an even more robust team.

Having grown significantly last year, a recent partnership with US retailer JCPenney is now helping to scale its brick-and-mortar footprint, with the beauty ‘shop-in-shop’ on course to be in 600 stores nationwide by 2023.

“Thirteen Lune’s presence within one of the country’s longest-standing retailers is profound on many levels,” Grieco explained in a statement. 

“Our brick-and-mortar footprint inside the visionary, hyper-inclusive JCPenney Beauty space will bring a beautifully curated assortment of brands from both Black and brown founders and ally brands who are dedicated to creating lasting change in beauty,” she added.

Once the company’s private label line rolls out, it hopes to further widen access to inclusive beauty products that better serve the needs of the wellness consumer by catering to and celebrating differences, diversity and accessibility.

Future Meat Technologies (F&B)

By anchoring itself as the first cultivated meat company to break the commercial viability cost barrier, making cultivated meat that is non-GMO, healthy, sustainable and available for widespread consumption, Future Meat is not only confident it can meet future consumer needs and values associated with food, beverages, health and wellness. But in doing so, also radically transform the global production of meat.

The Israeli-born company, founded in 2018, has already raised a record-breaking $347 million in a funding round late last year. Now, it is scouting several locations in the United States for a projected large scale production facility that will bolster its global rollout.

“We are incredibly excited by the massive support of our global network of strategic and financial investors,” said Professor Yaakov Nahmias, Founder and President of Future Meat at the time of securing the funding. 

He continued: “This financing consolidates Future Meat’s position as the leading player in the cultivated meat industry, just three years after our launch. Our singular technology reduced production costs faster than anyone thought possible, paving the way for a massive expansion of operations.”

Alongside its Series B funding, the company also announced that it would be reducing the cost of its cultivated chicken by more than $10 per pound — a move that will help to widen accessibility and further propel the category.

“While Future Meat is leading the pack as the fastest-growing company in this space, I truly see the entire cultivated meat industry as a massive agent of change, creating a sustainable future for coming generations,” said Nahmias of the decision.

However, despite already cracking the code when it comes to facilitating industry-leading low costs — the largest hurdle in bringing cultivated meat to cost parity with traditional meat — the Israeli company acknowledges that the real test will come when its products finally launch in the US. Awareness of and preferences around cultured meat will play a huge role in determining its success, said the brand recently.

“As a leader in this new industry, it is on us to not only create the product but also to help the market get familiar with it, mitigate concerns and make it accessible to end consumers,” explained Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies. Read more

The 10 Wellness Brands To Watch In 2022
Image: Everlywell
Everlywell (at-home health tech)

Founded in 2015, Everlywell provides Americans access to more than 35 home collection lab tests, sold online and in major retailers such as Target, CVS and Walgreens. 

Having experienced over 300% growth in the last year, showing the rising tide of consumer demand for accessible, affordable testing long after doctor’s offices and clinics have largely resumed normal services, the company has since made several significant acquisitions to leverage this momentum. And most notably, established a new parent company Everly Health.

In addition to Everlywell, the newly formed entity will act as the parent company to Natalist — a women’s health brand offering conception and pregnancy essentials with a net-zero plastic footprint and Everly Health Solutions — offering industry stakeholders a set of solutions from technology enablement to logistics, compliance, and clinical expertise

“The pandemic significantly accelerated the growth of consumer-friendly lab testing within the $85 billion testing market, resulting in a watershed moment for all aspects of diagnostics. People now expect affordable, high-quality, and easy diagnostic testing more than ever before,” explained Julia Cheek, CEO and Founder of Everlywell and Everly Health in a recent statement. 

“From technology to testing to treatment, Everly Health will transform lives with modern, diagnostics-driven care. Our priority is creating a world-class experience that enables our partners to deliver better care with ease.”

Everly Health, headquartered in Austin, Texas, already employs nearly 500 people and has an extensive telehealth network covering all 50 states. The company also boasts over 350 clients, including many of the largest health plans, employers, and labs in the US. 

Everlywell, meanwhile, has raised over $250 million to date and counts a number of renowned experts among its Scientific Advisory Board, which acts as a world-class group of involved advisors.

“We’ve assembled the brightest advisors and scientific minds across a variety of fields to help Everlywell transform an industry that is long overdue for change,” explained Cheek.

These individuals will be “an incredible benefit to Everlywell as we continue to lead the at-home health test market and reach millions of consumers over the next several years,” she added.

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