Food Industry Trend Watch: #2 Immunity & Health

The growing demand for functional foods and nutraceuticals.

In this six-part series, we explore the biggest food industry trends of 2021.

If we had to select one positive effect that the pandemic has had on consumers that stood out most, it would be the general shift in awareness about nutrition and health. Researchers at Innova Market Insights recently found that one third of consumers are now specifically shopping for products that target their personal health needs. Meanwhile, approximately half of all consumers are opting for naturally healthy foods and beverages over their less-nutritious counterparts. Whole Foods recently told Food Industry Executive, “The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles. That means superfoods, probiotics, broths, and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms, and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system.” For food manufacturers, this is creating excellent opportunities to select ingredients that promise natural health benefits and support immune functions

Studies have shown that the anxiety around health concerns which the pandemic triggered in 2020 will persist well into 2021. Thus, the demands for immunity-boosting ingredients, functional foods, nutraceuticals, supplements and personalised nutrition are expected to increase. The general expectation is that this will reflect itself in product innovations the year to come. Functional foods refer to all conventional foods which are typically associated with added health benefits and can thus help protect against disease. And while ‘wellness’ or ‘comfort’ foods have previously been favourite to promote people’s general well-being, the expectation is that these categories will need to be re-crafted using functional, healthy and plant-based ingredients to remain competitive. 

At foodcircle, we have also witnessed these shifts first-hand through the continuous rise in requests for the wholesale organic superfoods in our portfolio. 

Read more about plant-based in Trend Watch #3: Flexitarianism!

Imagery: (1) foodcircle, (2) Daily Nouri via unsplash.com

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