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Embracing trending functional health consumer needs in today’s food industry

October 10, 20232 min
Lauren Daniels photo
Lauren Daniels Tastewise

Dive into the top functional health consumer trends, including Paleo, Keto, prebiotic and probiotic foods, allergy-friendly options, low-sugar choices, and mental performance-boosting superfoods.

As health awareness grows, consumers increasingly seek functional foods that meet specific nutritional needs and promote overall wellness. By incorporating these emerging health-conscious preferences into their product offerings, food and beverage brands can better cater to a range of consumer needs and leverage these emerging trends for success.

In this article, we will explore the top trending functional health consumer needs, including Paleo and Keto-friendly foods, prebiotic-enhanced products, probiotic/gut-friendly options, allergy-friendly and free-from selections, low-sugar and low-calorie choices, and superfoods that enhance mental performance.

The demand for specialized dietary options, such as Paleo and Keto-friendly products, has surged as more people seek to improve their overall health and wellness through tailored nutritional choices. Similarly, gut health has become a significant focus for many consumers, driving the growth of prebiotic and probiotic-enhanced products. Additionally, companies are catering to consumers with dietary restrictions or food allergies by offering allergy-friendly and free-from alternatives.

The push for healthier options also extends to sugar and calorie content, with more consumers seeking low-sugar and low-calorie choices for everyday consumption. Finally, superfoods boasting potential mental performance-boosting properties have captured consumers’ interest in cognitive function and well-being.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these trending functional health consumer needs, exploring their implications for the food and beverage industry and offering insights on how businesses can innovate and adapt to capitalize on these emerging market opportunities. By understanding these trends and adjusting their product offerings accordingly, food and beverage brands can create products that cater to health-conscious clients, positioning themselves for continued success in an increasingly competitive industry landscape.

Paleo and Keto-friendly foods
As more consumers adopt Paleo and Keto diets for their potential health benefits, food businesses can better cater to these emerging preferences by incorporating Paleo and Keto-friendly products into their offerings. Here’s how:

Ingredient focus: Emphasize high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables to create dishes that align with Paleo and Keto principles.

Product development: Launch snacks, meal kits, and packaged goods that cater specifically to the requirements of these diets, ensuring that products are free of grains, dairy, and added sugars while being rich in healthy fats and nutrient-dense ingredients.

Menu adaptations: Create dedicated menu sections or customizable meal options that cater to Paleo and Keto diet followers, offering consumers transparency and ease when selecting meal choices.

Prebiotic-enhanced and gut-friendly products
Gut health has become a significant area of focus for health-conscious consumers. Food and beverage businesses can address this growing demand by offering prebiotic-enhanced and gut-friendly products:

Incorporate prebiotics: Utilize ingredients high in prebiotic fibers, such as chicory root, artichoke, asparagus, and bananas, to develop products that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Create probiotic foods and beverages: Develop and market products rich in live microorganisms, such as fermented foods, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, that contribute to overall gut health.

Introduce gut-friendly menu items: Offer dishes at your establishment with easy-to-digest ingredients that promote gut health, such as fermented vegetables and bone broth.

Allergy-friendly and free-from options
With consumers increasingly conscious of potential allergens, food businesses need to accommodate these restrictions:

Gluten-free and allergen-free offerings: Develop and offer products explicitly labeled as gluten-free or allergen-free and create separate menu sections to cater to consumers with specific dietary restrictions.

Ingredient transparency and allergen management: Ensure ingredients and potential allergens in your products are clearly labeled and institute stringent allergy policies throughout your supply chain to minimize cross-contamination risks.

Vegan and nut-free alternatives: Explore alternative ingredients that cater to common food allergies, such as dairy-free cheese substitutes or nut-free spreads, and include these options in your product offerings and menus.

No/low sugar and low-calorie choices
Today’s health-conscious consumer is increasingly mindful of their sugar and calorie intake. Brands should consider offering no/low sugar and low-calorie options:

Sugar alternatives: Utilize natural sugar alternatives like stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol to create low-sugar product offerings that still deliver on taste.

Portion size control: Offer smaller meal and snack sizes to cater to the calorie-conscious consumer, allowing them to enjoy their favorite treats without overindulging.

Low-calorie menu items: Highlight dishes featuring low-calorie ingredients, such as fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, while avoiding excessive dressings or sauces that may contribute additional, unnecessary calories.

Superfoods enhancing mental performance
Consumers are increasingly interested in foods that may enhance mental performance. Food businesses can capitalize on this trend by incorporating superfood ingredients into their products and menus:

Brain-boosting ingredients: Focus on cognitive benefits, such as blueberries, walnuts, salmon, avocado, and dark chocolate.

Adaptogenic herbs and spices: Introduce adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi mushrooms, and turmeric, which help the body cope with stress and promote cognitive function.

Product lines and menu items: Create product lines or menu items specifically centered around brain-boosting superfoods, allowing consumers to choose options that cater to their mental performance goals.

Food businesses can cater to today’s trending functional health consumer needs by understanding and adapting to these preferences. By offering Paleo and Keto-friendly options, prebiotic-enhanced and gut-friendly products, allergy-friendly choices, low sugar and low-calorie alternatives, and superfoods that may enhance mental performance, businesses can better meet the ever-evolving demands of health-conscious consumers.

As a result, companies can create unique, innovative, and enticing product offerings, positioning themselves for continued growth and competitive edge within the food and beverage industry. Reach out to our team at Tastewise to explore our food and beverage intelligence software.

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