08 Mar 2022 — US-based natural foods broker Presence has unveiled a “spectacular shift” in wellness trends as consumers actively prioritize purpose-driven F&B and supplement products.
The broker’s latest trend report highlights five key themes forecasting a new era of conscious consumption as people become more aware of how they shop, consume and dispose of everyday items.
“This year, we focused on forward-thinking product features and benefits that are resonating with consumers, even before the manifestation of products across the consumables landscape,” Tracy Miedema, vice president of business development at Presence, tells NutritionInsight.
These next-level drivers describe “that is to come,” she says. “Early-stage trends reflect meaningful psychographic changes among consumers – and for these particular trends, the wave has just begun.”
The top five trends:
Relaxation Supplements for Stress and Sleep
Many consumers are turning to vitamins and other supplements to support their mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, vitamins and supplements saw 43% year-over-year growth on Amazon.
Ashwagandha is a stress relief and relaxation ingredient particularly resonating with consumers today.The pandemic exacerbated day-to-day stress levels and increased consumer attention toward emotional well-being and stress support.
In a year-over-year growth report, results show a 30% growth for stress relief and sleep support products.
“Magnesium and ashwagandha are two of the stress relief and relaxation materials that are particularly resonating with consumers,” details Miedema.
“The reason is that most people do not get enough magnesium and quickly see benefits relating to both sleep and gut health. As for ashwagandha, it is an adaptogen that creates homeostasis in the body.”
Carbonated Drinks for Gut Health
The probiotics category continues to grow, increasing outside of supplements and into new food and beverage formats.
In 2020, the global probiotics market was estimated at US$54.77 billion, and it is expected to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% from 2021 to 2028.
One of its leading contributors to the growing probiotics trend is functional carbonated beverages containing prebiotics, probiotics or postbiotics for immunity and gut support.
Shelf-stable energy drinks and other functional beverages containing probiotics were the top sales drivers with 4,357.4% growth, the report details.
For beverages containing prebiotics, shelf-stable soda and carbonated beverages were up by 12.8%.
Miedema explains that the European market poses “a huge opportunity for the functional beverage market” as Europe is currently very underdeveloped in this regard, having mostly sugary soda available in ready-to-drink (RTD) formats.
Environmentally sustainable packaging is relevant across product categories.Regenerative Agriculture
Since 2019, business interest in regenerative agriculture has spiked by 138%. Regenerative agriculture is a global movement that promotes biodiversity, sequesters carbon and allows living systems to work in harmony.
“The concept draws on traditions of working with the rhythms of nature, and we’ve seen a re-introduction of regenerative agriculture practices throughout the pandemic,” says Miedema.
“Regenerative agriculture has been booming and will play a critical role shaping the future of agriculture.”
Tactics that prioritize soil health, no-till planting, the inclusion of cover crops on farmland and traditional animal husbandry are expected to help make the agricultural sector more responsible and appealing to conscious consumers.
Presence envisions future consumer packaged goods labels touting regenerative agriculture.
More Sustainable Packaging Options
Environmental waste remains a top concern for conscious consumers, despite many manufacturers having already shifted to eco-friendly, upcycled packaging options.
Manufacturers, retailers and other brands are rethinking how to provide more sustainable material when packaging products. Examples include choosing recycled materials and minimizing the use of single-use plastics.
“Throughout packaging supply chains, we’ve seen a 23% increase in recyclable pod/cup systems, 9% increase in aseptic cartons, and 2% increase in using glass,” underscores Miedema.
“As packaging continues to factor into purchasing decisions, we’ll also see innovation surrounding zero-waste packaging.”
By 2030, the global functional mushroom market is expected to amount to US$19.33 billion, up from US$7.98 billion in 2020.Mushroom Everything
Lastly, Presence cites mushrooms as “poised for mainstream success,” noting that sales of the ingredient have grown to reach US$420 million.
“The appeal of mushrooms to humankind turns out to be something very deep. In fact, the kingdom of fungi is more closely related to animals than plants,” enthuses Miedema.
“Our bio-evolutionary history involves humans being fascinated by the beauty and strangeness of these lifeforms. Consuming mushrooms are quite ancient, and people are discovering true functional benefits by introducing these materials into their life.”
In 2020, the global functional mushroom market generated US$7.98 billion. By 2030, the global functional mushroom market is expected to amount to US$19.33 billion, seeing a CAGR of 9.3% between 2021 and 2030, states the report.
Retailers are stocking a variety of new mushroom products featured in seasoning blends, RTD beverages, snacks and coffee. Supplements that contain mushrooms as a key ingredient in capsules, powders, tinctures or teas are also becoming more popular.
Various types of mushrooms provide different benefits. Chaga, cordyceps, reishi, lion’s mane and turkey tail are more commonly found as supplements and in powder form, although they can also be found fresh and dried.
Their ingredients have been shown to stimulate the immune system, help with healthy blood pressure management, supply powerful antioxidants and support overall wellness.
Some research also suggests they may promote focus, provide cardiovascular and skin health support or boost cognition.
“There are some parallels we are seeing to dispensaries creating a glide path for CBD and the legalization of psychedelics in certain places creating greater awareness and legitimacy that mushrooms are a powerful foodstuff that can have an impact in their life,” adds Miedema.
A report last October found that people who eat mushrooms rich in ergothioneine may have a lower risk of depression.
The surge in demand for functional mushrooms and supplements will continue benefits to grow as consumers look for food and beverage innovations that promote beyond basic nutrition, Presence conclusions.
By Missy Green
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst‘s sister website, NutritionInsight.
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