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Almost 1 Year into the Pandemic, What Functional Opportunities Still Exist?

February 22, 20212 min
Lauren Daniels photo
Lauren Daniels Tastewise
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Functional foods are firmly entrenched in today’s food and beverage landscape. What can one of the functional food trends that emerged at the beginning of the pandemic teach us about the state of the category? Let’s take a look at turmeric, and how it’s reception and use among consumers can elevate your product strategy.

Functional Foods in 2021

For the uninitiated, it’s time to catch up: functional foods are ingredients that offer benefits beyond taste or alleviating hunger. Some ingredients with functional benefits have found cult followings among mainstream consumers – think kombucha for gut comfort – while others are emerging trends. What can one of the functional food trends that emerged at the beginning of the pandemic teach us about the state of the category? And most importantly, how can food brands tap into the data behind the trend to inform new product development, or existing product positioning? Let’s take a look at turmeric, and how it’s reception and use among consumers can elevate your product strategy. Throughout this analysis, we will use the Tastewise Insights platform to uncover the motivations behind the trend.

Now that we understand that turmeric for immunity has found fans across audience groups – some more than others! – how can we best understand how people are consuming turmeric for functional benefit?

Turmeric’s niche has wide appeal

By comparing social media discussions, we see that consumers talk about turmeric for immunity in the home space more than in the restaurant space; while this mad sense at the height of the pandemic when restaurants were closed, it is significant that the trend has continued in its original proportions. Menus appear broadly not to mention turmeric’s immunity benefits, which may contribute to the trend being firmly established in the home.

Given consumer interest at home in turmeric, how are people actually getting turmeric to their immune systems? Drum roll please… through beverages! Interest in immunity-boosting turmeric within beverages far outpaces that within dishes; today, interest in immunity-focused turmeric beverages is +92% higher than a year ago.

If we take a look at how people are making immunity-boosting turmeric beverages at home, we see a valuable white space: demand for beverage recipes (think smoothies, lattes, and more) that feature turmeric for immunity are higher than current available offerings.

What does this mean for your business?

By examining the data on how, where, and why people consume turmeric for immunity reasons, we were able to identify an area where the market is lacking. What does this mean for you?

Consider the following:

  • Use turmeric in recipes featuring your product, and play up it’s immunity-boosting benefits.
  • Use language that will attract speciality audiences like chefs and nutritionists to your turmeric-based product or recipe, and mainstream consumers will soon follow.
  • Considering making a new beverage product? Include turmeric, and make sure to feature it’s immunity-boosting properties.

Interested in learning more about functional food trends? Sign up for your free Tastewise Spotlight report here, and check out our latest report on the Lifecycle of Trends.

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