Functional Food Offers Growth Opportunities
Functional food ingredients that support better sleep, reduced stress and improved focus are in demand and driving product innovation, according to a new report from T. Hasegawa. The flavors producer cited research from Lightspeed/Mintel that found nearly 70% of consumers currently use products that feature a functional benefit, and 40% use products with three or more functionalities.
“Functionality in food and drink has found its place within consumer routines, and curiosity in how diets can further support both physical and mental health is high, particularly among younger consumers,” said Alyssa Hangartner, consumer insights analyst, flavor and ingredient trends, at Mintel. “Increased emphasis on improving lifestyle habits and the definition of wellness on a personal level has left plenty of room for food and beverage innovation to meet consumers’ needs where they need it most.”
The report showed consumers have gravitated toward product categories that offer a sense of comfort during the past year, with snacks, baked foods, soup and frozen treats posting the largest consumption increases. There also has been a notable uptick in consumption of convenience offerings like packaged produce, meats and frozen meals. Functional ingredient innovation is largely concentrated in snacks and beverages, pointing to white space areas for future functional ingredient innovation, according to the report.
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