Healthy aging continues to be a hot topic. Also, “beauty from within” is on the rise. Consumers are on the hunt for youth-boosting foods and drinks. The growing aging population, increasingly youth-centric society, and consumer motivation for self-care are drivers for these health solutions.
Continuing the trend seen in previous years are pre- and probiotics. They are high-demand ingredients, whether for digestive health, immune, or mental health. Intensive research opens up additional indication areas for probiotics. Likewise, algae, grasses, and collagen-containing foods are on the rise. Other interesting ingredients are fermented extracts.
Hemp products are gaining more and more interest in the food arena, although the regulatory situation of CBD-containing products is not yet solved. Cannabis extracts that contain cannabidiol (CBD) levels higher than the CBD levels in the source of Cannabis sativa L. are considered novel in food. Hemp oil (without CBD), obtained by cold-pressing the seeds or other plant parts, does not require pre-market authorization as hemp oil was consumed in the EU to a significant degree before 1997.
All innovative ingredients rely on the health benefit they offer to the consumer as a key differentiator. So, brands are investing more in clinical research to support the health benefits of their products.
Brands are also using healthy confectioneries to drive innovation. This was already observed last year but to a lesser extent. Brands are exploring delivery formats such as chocolates, jelly sticks, and gummies to bring innovation to their products. Supplements targeting “beauty from within” are a good example of products exploring these delivery formats.
Continuing an ongoing trend, “natural” and “organic” are words often found in ingredients and products. Thus, vitamins and minerals derived from natural sources are gaining more and more importance as ingredients.
Sustainability is another buzz word. Consumers are demanding more transparency within products, searching for brands that they can trust and that have an environmentally friendly approach and consider animal welfare.
Sports nutrition continues to move mainstream, being less and less a niche. Brands are actively exploring this segment with cutting edge sports nutrition and functional ingredient solutions delivering innovative, on-the-go functional foods and beverages.
With consumer centricity and holistic health and wellness solutions being key market drivers, digital solutions and/or wearables are slowly gaining more and more attention, as they offer increased consumer engagement. They can be interesting solutions to support brands for portfolio extension. Similarly, providing consumers with an experience/discovery rather than “just” a product is gaining more and more relevance for the food and beverage markets.