The single most consistent trend occurring at the intersection of health, wellness and food is the redefinition of quality. Consumers are looking under the hood of foods and beverages and watching for functional ingredients that address their health concerns, from specific maladies such as osteoporosis to general graceful ageing. In front of a standing-room-only crowd of retailers, manufacturers and product formulators, Friday’s “Understanding Ingredients: Foods, Drinks and Supplements” panel added their insights on ingredients consumers are gravitating to.
Macro trends include beauty products and condition-specific items--specifically weight management. In addition, “two-thirds [of consumers] actively seek calcium and antioxidants; one-half seek green tea, fiber, omega-3s and other added vitamins; one-third look for ginseng and pomegranate,” said Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., principal of Korvus Blue, a Chicago consultancy. “Frivolous is out and prevention is in.”
Real food ingredients are also in. Elisa Bosley, senior food editor at Delicious Living magazine, noted the macro food trends of increased fiber, natural sweeteners and superfruits. She also brought up the burgeoning trend of consumers gravitating to foods that are free from or lower in unhealthy ingredients--witness the low-sodium and gluten-free movements.
The science behind major growth ingredients was presented by Todd Runestad, science editor at Functional Ingredients magazine. “The five foods for the future include synbiotics – the combination of probiotics and their prebiotic fiber ‘lunch box’--vitamin K2, vitamin D3, superfruits and nutrients derived sustainably through fermentation,” he said.