Top Nutrition Trends

What are the food and nutrition trends likely to drive sales in 2022?

Proactive Health

Proactive health was an emerging trend even before the global pandemic, but its importance has certainly been emphasised. The notion of eating for health has been around for a while. Consumers are well aware of the potential to improve health through diet, and this is now regarded as more essential than ever before. Preventing ill health instead of curing it is the new approach of many.  

The addition of functionality to food and beverage products, where the food can provide a health benefit above and beyond what it could previously (for example adding probiotics) will continue to grow in response to consumer demand for functional foods. Customers are looking for foods that promise to support immunity, mental wellness, gut health, provide energy and focus. 

Immunity

Immunity is a more familiar concept now, to many more people, than it has ever been before. Covid-19 has led to many people learning more about the human immune system and trying to keep themselves healthy. Consumers are aware of the effects of the foods they eat on their health are looking to their diet for ways to support their immune systems.  

While the advice from health professionals is that eating a healthy balanced diet containing a variety of foods is the best way to support the immune system, certain nutrients have come to the fore over the past year. Consumers now recognise Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Selenium and Zinc as having a role to play in immune function along with pre-and probiotics.  

Plant Based Foods

In the not too distant past, vegetarianism and veganism were much less common than they are today. Many consumers are taking a flexitarian approach too – reducing animal foods and increasing plant foods in a flexible way. Dietary guidelines around the world are encouraging the move towards more plant foods for both health and sustainability reasons.  

As with other foods, consumers are looking for more nutritional benefits from plant-based foods. There is increasing demand for the nutrients found in dairy products to be added to plant based alternatives, for example. Plant based protein supplements are growing in popularity in the world of sports nutrition. There is a health halo associated with plant-based products right now, fueled by many factors, not least of which is social media.

Mental Wellness

Diet is a key factor in mental wellness, well recognised now by the consumer. Ingredients such as Omega-3, B Vitamins, pre-and probiotics are regarded as mood and energy boosting by many consumers. New additions like botanicals (for example lavender for stress relief) are appearing across the food and beverage market.  

After the challenges faced over the past 18 months, taking a proactive approach to mental wellness looks like a trend that will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. 

Read more here: Nutrition & Mental Wellbeing

Healthy Ageing

As the population ages, and people live for longer, older adults are a fast-growing market. Consumers expect to be healthier for longer and diet has a large part to play. The evidence shows us that older adults require more protein to maintain muscle mass, leading to a demand for high protein food products.

Other concerns in this population group such as maintaining cognitive health invite the development of high protein foods containing ingredients which may support cognitive health, for example Omega-3 and antioxidants.   

Read more here: Nutrition for Healthy Ageing

Sustainability

Public awareness of the importance of making sustainable food choices is a significant driver in food sales. Balancing individual health with a healthy planet is a priority for many. Sustainable food systems, farming methods, reducing waste and feeding the hungry are issues that matter to consumers.

Food producers moving towards sustainability and being seen to make changes in order to protect the planet will have an advantage. Consumers have begun to look to their local food producers to reduce their food miles, providing new opportunity to small and medium food and beverage companies countrywide.   

If you have an innovative idea for a new food product which you feel could take advantage of these trends to improve health and wellbeing, get in touch to see how the research team at MET could support you in researching and developing your idea.

Sources and Further Information

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