Functional nutrition: ADM spotlights five consumer shifts for holistic self-care
27 Aug 2021 --- Consumers are taking a more proactive approach to their well-being with functional nutrition, close-to-nature ingredients and foods that signal self-care. These are ADM’s latest findings, which identify five consumer lifestyle behavior shifts with an emphasis on health and wellness. Consumers’ rejuvenated nutrition outlook in the wake of COVID-19 presents new opportunities to innovate food, beverages and supplements that can address these desires, the company supports.
“Consumers are trying to develop a broader foundation of physical and mental resilience, and many are seeking solutions tailored to their unique risk factors and lifestyles,” June Lin, vice president, global marketing, health and wellness at ADM tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“More than just physical health, people understand they also need to care for their emotional and mental well-being. Greater awareness of the gut-brain connection reinforces a more comprehensive approach to wellness.”
Lin describes an array of wellness sectors that brands can tap into, which are inextricably linked to gut health, including immunity, metabolic health and mental well-being.
The pandemic’s impact
According to ADM’s research, 60 percent of global consumers are planning to improve their overall health and wellness in the next 12 months. “The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how consumers perceive holistic health and well-being. It’s impacting how we live and increasing the importance of the foods, beverages and supplements we choose,” says Lin.
Moreover, the company forecasts that consumers’ focus on health and wellness through nutrition is a trend that’s here to stay – even after the pandemic is over.
This phenomenon was recently underscored by co-founders of nutrition businesses Mend and Upgraid, who told NutritionInsight that society is on the “precipice of major breakthroughs” surrounding food as medicine.
ADM’s top five health and wellness behavior shifts that create opportunities for health-forward F&B are:
1. Renewed motivation to improve individual health and wellness
Pandemic experiences have varied across the globe, but a nearly universal takeaway is the renewed focus on preventative health and wellness behaviors.
For example, 76 percent of global consumers say they will eat and drink more healthily due to COVID-19, and 41 percent plan to be more physically active.
Products designed to optimize physical health and mental wellness at all life stages will help consumers protect themselves, their families and their communities.
“For example, real food solutions that pair plant nutrition with biotics and botanicals can help meet consumer demand for associated benefits and enhance applications across categories. Growing formats, such as functional waters and snack bars, support busy lifestyles with convenience, flavor and satiety,” affirms Lin.
In this regard, functional beverages are flourishing for time-pressed consumers who are keen to proactively promote their health.
At the same time, industry is witnessing the mainstreaming of many sports nutrition ingredients, reaching a larger demographic with electrolyte-balancing and high-protein ingredients.
2. A holistic approach to managing the mind-body connection
More people are embracing their emotional well-being, as 51 percent of global consumers are planning to improve their cognitive and mental health over the next 12 months.
Botanicals also carry a range of active compounds that can be used in formulation for various functional benefits. This was recently highlighted by Layn Natural Ingredients with its recent expansion of Non-GMO Project Verified botanical extracts.
A desire to keep physical and mental health in balance is promoting new techniques to manage stress, from exercise and meditation to eating foods with perceived mood-enhancing benefits.
Recent consumer research from Kerry revealed that botanical extracts generate several emotions, including energy, excitement, creativity and fun.
As consumers return to more active lifestyles, convenient products with functional ingredients that boost energy, enhance cognitive performance and regulate mood are also gaining prominence.
Here, botanicals can also play a role in relieving stress and enhancing mood.
3. Tailored nutrition supports personal health and wellness goals
Nearly two-thirds of global consumers are interested in foods and beverages that are customized to meet their individual nutrition needs.
“Food, beverages and supplements enable personalization and highly targeted solutions to promote gut health and overall well-being. From powders and gummies to fortified drinks and nutrient-dense foods, manufacturers are developing innovative ways to deliver sought-after nutrients such as vitamins C and D, protein, fiber and omega-3,” details Lin.
In line with the trend, ADM Ventures invested in Remedy Health in May, a 3D printing technology for tailored nutrition. The company’s HT-BPL1 postbiotic is now on offer in Nourished’s personalized gummy vitamins, a brand under Remedy Health.
wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients in home-cooked and prepared meals, with a particular focus on fiber and protein.ADM also notes that a greater understanding of how diet can impact health is spurring more people to choose
Brands can help people stay motivated in the kitchen with novel flavors and convenient formats.
4. A proactive perspective on immunity
With 65 percent of global consumers more concerned about immunity since COVID-19, people are shifting from a defensive approach against illness to one that’s more proactive and holistic.
Consumers are looking for ways to incorporate immune function-supporting solutions, like probiotics and vitamin C and D, into their daily lives.
Products with functional ingredients that support a healthy immune system will increasingly attract consumer attention. And suppliers are innovating to make immunity-supporting F&B easier to formulate.
This July, Lallemand Bio-Ingredients received a favorable opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), allowing its vitamin D yeast to be used in 34 food categories. The regulatory approval allows the yeast-based vitamin D to be added to fermented milk or cream products, as well as meat and dairy analogs.
Moreover, Innova Market Insights has noted a slant toward younger consumers craving immunity-boosting products, indicating that the immunity trend is here to stay.
5. Purposeful indulgence is the new “permissible indulgence”
During the pandemic, many people gave themselves permission to consume indulgent food and beverages as a form of self-care.
ADM reports 56 percent of global consumers have purchased comfort food regularly as a result of COVID-19.
Consumers are recognizing that as long as these are purposeful – and not impulsive – choices, indulgence has a role in a positive relationship with food.
ADM projects new opportunities for beverages, snacks and confectionery products that deliver functional benefits with delicious flavor.
“New products that satisfy consumers’ desires for emotional indulgence become permissible with sweetness derived from closer-to-nature ingredients, botanicals and comforting flavors and aromas,” she adds.
“Dark chocolate bars with postbiotics and nuts, berries or other wholesome ingredients are just one example of meeting these desires.”
The company has already developed several concepts that incorporate functional botanicals as a way to bridge the gap between indulgent and health-forward foods and beverages.
Lin detailed to FoodIngredientsFirst at the time that ADM’s chocolate coffee energy syrup shot was “a perfect addition to coffee, smoothies and shakes.”
“It includes our guarana and green coffee extracts as well as our Fibersol dietary fiber and BPL1 strain, which combine to provide energy and antioxidants and support for factors associated with metabolic function.”
In a similar vein, Kerry’s immune-supporting Wellmune ingredient provides functional ingredients to Davinci syrup for a quick add-in to beverages.
Kerry also recently released dairy-free flavors for indulgent hot beverages fortified with probiotics within its foodservice line Big Train.
By Missy Green, with additional reporting from Elizabeth Green
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