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The health and wellness food industry is experiencing growth ahead of regular packaged food, driven by changing consumer preferences towards a more natural and functional offering, aiming to adopt a more holistic approach to a healthy diet. This article highlights the 5 key trends shaping the health and wellness foods industry.
With consumers avoiding dairy and going off gluten while embracing plant-based alternatives, the “free from” category has posted the most dynamic performance in the health and wellness industry over the last few years. Consumers perceive “free from” products as more natural and healthier, which is the key driver.
New product developments have accelerated growth of this type of offering, with more manufacturers entering the space and innovating to attract consumers. New ingredients have also entered the scene, ancient grains being one of the most popular. Highly nutritious and versatile ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and spelt can be integrated into gluten-free cereal-based foods or dairy-free alternatives.
Organic food´s popularity surged in recent years, with consumers increasingly purchasing products perceived as fresher, more natural and more sustainable.
Organic food has penetrated in North American and Western European households, showing consistent growth in sales which boosted companies producing all types of organic goods.
Although the organic offering is rising sharply, many consumers are still confused about what organic means, which could potentially affect its performance in the future. This is likely to drive a movement towards other, easier-to-understand claims around clean label and animal welfare over the coming years.
Fortified/functional foods, which have been artificially enhanced to provide a functionality, are losing traction in the Western world because they are perceived as artificial and processed.
However, emerging markets offer a massive opportunity for these products as a means of minimising nutritional gaps. India is a good example of this as many packaged food companies have been fortifying products such as edible oils, sweet biscuits, baby food and dairy for years. The category continues to record solid current value growth as consumers are willing to buy these products to address health issues.
In addition, probiotics remain a hot topic in Asia Pacific, particularly in yoghurt. With increasing health awareness of digestion and yoghurt manufacturers marketing probiotic´s benefits, yoghurt is considered a healthy product, beneficial to appetite and digestive health.
Energy is a key element of contemporary health and wellness lifestyles. Consumers are adopting a more holistic approach to a healthy diet, moving away from the weight management concept.
Consumers increasingly acknowledge an implicit connection between the energy they have and the foods they eat, which is driving growth of foods with an energy-boosting positioning.
Energy bars are a key winner within this trend. Natural energy coming from plant-based protein, derived from clean label ingredients such as nuts or peas, is likely to continue to thrive as consumers seek natural snacks.
Consumer´s quest for ways to simplify, explore and preserve time provides a long runway for shopping reinvented in the food industry. The willingness to spend money to save time drives innovation, and the openness and flexibility that the internet age has ushered in, translates well to the new, ever-changing reinvention.
This has represented a major opportunity for alternative business models in the food industry, with subscription meal boxes emerging.
Indeed, delivery meal boxes with a focus on Health and Wellness foods such as Sun Basket in the US and Mindful Chef in the UK are on the rise. This is the result of the increasing innovation seeking to target consumers looking for only organic foods, dairy/gluten-free offerings, or non-refined carbs, which is showing a massive opportunity for growth.
To learn more: “The World Market for Health and Wellness Packaged Food” (https://www.euromonitor.com/the-world-market-for-health-and-wellness-packaged-food/report)