With the world having been more focused than ever on health during the past two years, consumers are reevaluating decisions surrounding eating and exercise. A recent report by Food & Beverage Insider found that 40% of consumers have purchased functional products during the pandemic. Supporting this, Technavio’s latest market research projects that the global health and wellness food market will grow by $362.15 billion during 2021-2025, witnessing a CAGR of 8.27%.
This consistent increase in demand is likely to be a response to heightened fears around health and wellbeing due to the ongoing pandemic. FoodBev explores some themes impacting the functional food and beverage market and showcases innovations and trends from within the sector.
Focus on immune boosters
Immunity has been a buzzword during the last 20 months, as consumers around the world have been increasingly seeking out products that offer immunity-boosting benefits as a preventative measure against falling ill. The functional foods industry is seeing an increase in products that contain immune-boosting natural ingredients, such as turmeric, ginger and apple cider vinegar, as well as vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics.
A recent Think with Google European report, conducted by Lucy Sinclair, analysed changes in consumer behaviour and detailed a surge in searches for vitamin D and immunity boosters, indicating that even with preventative measures and vaccines in place, consumers are also looking to make positive changes to their diets.
The popularity of functional products can be seen throughout the food and beverage sector, with many new offerings having been introduced in 2021, including Weetabix Food Company’s new immunity support drink range, released as part of its Weetabix On The Go selection. On The Go Plus Immune Support is high in fibre, contains 19g of protein per bottle, and is fortified with vitamins and minerals, with the aim of helping consumers gain extra protection.
Another example is free-from and vegan soup brand Soupologie’s plant-based soups with vitamin D.
Continued growth for CBD
While the pandemic has seen a proliferation of products that offer functional benefits for health and the body, it has also provoked a greater interest in products for mental wellness. The pandemic and resulting restrictions have caused disruption, uncertainty and anxiety for many, as millions saw their lives and routines changed.
During the pandemic, around four in ten adults in the US have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from one in ten before the pandemic, according to the results of a KFF Health Tracking Poll. The poll also found that many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and wellbeing, such as difficulty sleeping (36%).
A 2021 Journal of Cannabis Research report found that many users said that CBD could improve sleep problems, stress, anxiety and be used for general health and wellbeing. Many consumers are aware of these reported effects, and, according to Grand View Research, the global cannabidiol market was valued at $2.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 21.2% from 2021 to 2028.
Companies have also looked into CBD and the reported benefits for consumers.
The push in innovation can be seen in the accessibility of products – as CBD has jumped from an unknown commodity to a household name – and in the range of offerings available, from infused chocolate to CBD candles.
A great example of a CBD product being brought to market is the trial by UK supermarket Sainsbury’s of drinks brand Rebelicious’s CBD-infused beverages.
US beverage brand Karma Water has also innovated, expanding its wellness and probiotic water drinks portfolio with the launch of its new CBD-infused water. The water is infused with 25mg of antioxidant-rich CBD distillate, plus four adaptogens and seven vitamins, providing both nutritional and holistic benefits for the consumer.
Convenience without compromise
The gradual easing of lockdowns and restrictions has seen countries open up, and the movement of people and global travel resume, albeit to a reduced extent compared with previously.
While health remains forefront in the minds of consumers, for many the return to the office means less time to prepare nutritious food. To rescue consumers from the healthy or quick conundrum, companies are reintroducing or creating healthy on-the-go convenience options.
An example of this is the launch of UK start-up Tarwi Foods’ new range of lupin bean-based snacks, which are designed as a healthy option that can be enjoyed on the go.
Also aiming to offer convenience without compromising health, activated snacking brand Boundlessa has announced the launch of the “world’s first” activated chip range. Founder Cathy Moseley said: “Our mission is quite simply to make snacking well easy. That’s why we believe this launch is a real game-changer. We’re helping people to look after their gut with a product range that is both accessible and affordable.”
Have you recently launched a functional or health-focused product? The 2022 World Food Innovation Awards has 25 categories, including “Best health or wellness food/drink” and “Best functional product”.
Enter your innovation today!
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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