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Finding the Why behind functional food trends

October 3, 2019
Food & Drink

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Functional foods have been steadily gaining traction as consumers start to see what they eat as a key ingredient in health and wellness. A survey by Kerry from earlier this year found that consumers are increasingly turning to food to help them manage their weight, mood, energy, and sleep.

Tastewise, a platform that uses artificial intelligence to predict future food trends, today released a report that provides insight into why certain functional foods are currently trending. Food manufacturers can use these insights to develop products that will appeal to what the company calls “wellness-obsessed consumers.”

“In order to remain innovative and stay ahead of the curve, it’s imperative that food brands understand why certain ingredients are trending by learning the deep, real motivations and functions consumers are compelled by,” Tastewise co-founder Alon Chen said in a press release. “Our platform and AI were designed specifically for food and beverage analyses and unveil rising human needs to predict the next big trend ahead of time.”

To predict these food trends, Tastewise analyzed social media interactions, restaurant menus, and home recipes posted online. They found that more than one-third (37%) of consumers are looking for functional benefits from food and beverages. This year, there was also a 23% increase in consumers specifically looking for wellness benefits.

Here are the top trending foods for the benefits consumers care most about.

Sleep

Asparagus
Moon milk
Golden milk

Weight loss

Maple syrup
Coconut water
Cranberries
Provolone

Wellness

Pea protein
Herbal tea
Smoothies
Clean eating

Energy

Wheatgrass
Sesame
Green tea
Peaches

Stress relief

Hemp oil
Ashwagandha
Lavender
Reishi

Focus

Moringa
Coffee
Olive oil

Brain health

Sweet potatoes
Dates
Ginger
Sauerkraut

Gut health

Leafy greens
Watermelon
Peppermint

In addition to associating trending ingredients with functional benefits, Tastewise provides “ingredient deep-dives” so that companies can understand what consumers are looking for from certain ingredients. CBD, for example, is being talked about extensively on social media as a supplement with a variety of functions, including pain management and sleep health.

By Krista Garver

Source: Food Industry Executive

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