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A broader definition of ‘wellbeing’
The broader impact of food and beverages on overall wellbeing is an emerging trend that Adriana Heinzen, trends and innovation consultant at market research group Mintel, pointed to ahead of the 2021 Naturally Good expo.
“We expect food and drink companies to create mental and emotional wellbeing solutions, deliver on new value needs, and use brands to celebrate people’s identities,” Heinzen said.
“We are seeing some really innovative food and drink formulations that are offering consumers mental and emotional wellbeing, which will evolve the foundation of healthy eating.”
Food and drinks manufacturers are already incorporating substances such as adaptogens and nervines into products to support consumers who are feeling increasingly stressed as a result of the pandemic, Heinzen explained.
Adaptogens are botanical substances such as holy basil, ashwagandha, maca and different types of ginseng,that can help the body restore balance and cope with physical or mental stress. Similarly, nervines are a group of botanical ingredients that are also thought to reduce stress and anxiety levels, but by acting on the nervous system. Well-known nervines that feature in food and drink include lemon balm, valerian and lavender.
“Stress and burnout have been accelerated by the pandemic and created demand for functional products to help ease the mind,” Heinzen said. “Benefits include better sleep, reduced stress, and even improved concentration.”
Heinzen points to immunity through gut health as another key trend, with more innovation expected across fibre, fermented foods, pre-, pro- and postbiotics (i.e. non-viable bacterial products or metabolic products from micro-organisms that have biologic activity in the host).
“There is increasing awareness about how the gut microbiota and the immune system work in a mutual relationship and constantly shape each other,” she said.
A taste for good deeds
Alongside seeking out better-for-you food options, consumers will continue to favour brands that ‘do good’ in 2022.
Social enterprise ice cream label Elato has got it all covered. It’s the only 3-star health-rated premium ice cream currently on the market, has added prebiotic fibre for gut health, and is free from lactose, chemicals, colours, preservatives, and major allergens – including gluten.
Not only that, Elato is on a mission to reduce world hunger and food waste by contributing half of its profits to food rescue non-profit organisation OzHarvest.
“We were looking for a way to give back that was connected to food, as well as to find an organisation that has a huge impact locally and overseas,” said Roz Kaldor-Aroni, creator and founder of Elato.
The brand is also heavily focused on sustainable sourcing, operating an ethical supply chain, and being transparent with customers about where its ingredients come from, including listing its flavour suppliers on its website.
“[The suppliers] were selected for a number of reasons, especially their commitment to ethical sustainable business,” Kaldor-Aroni said.
Convenience: right size, right time
Convenience is another trend that will continue to evolve in 2022, and is something that dairy brand Bulla is tapping into for its Snack Choc Top offering. In November, the brand began rolling out the products, typically found in a larger size at the supermarkets and cinemas, in the freezer section of 7-Eleven.
Bulla general manager of marketing and innovation Jane Wyatt said it’s important to serve customers relevant products for each channel.
“It is important to be available where consumers want to shop, and Bulla Dairy Foods is now in a position to offer our ‘impulse’ customers different products than what has traditionally been available in retail,” said Wyatt.
She pointed to “premiumisation, convenience, and customisation” in food production as key trends and areas of focus for Bulla Dairy Foods.
“We take pride in putting customers at the heart of our product innovation and continue to develop new, high-quality products made from fresh Australian milk,” Wyatt said. “Due to Covid, we have seen food and beverage delivery services hit record highs, with changes to the types of foods that are consumed using those platforms, as well as how consumers value that service.”
This article was originally published in Inside FMCG magazine