Trends in functional food and supplements

functional food trends

Consumers are increasingly aware of the relationship between their health and their eating habits, which has led to a remarkable increase in the relevance of functional claims. We want to concentrate better, feel more relaxed, have mental clarity, take care of our immune system, have a good digestive health...

On the other hand, tablets or capsules used to be the most popular applications. Now, functional food is spreading across a large number of categories for easy consumption. Gummies, for example, have become a star application.

What other functional food trends can we spot? What about food supplements? Let's take a closer look.

FUNCTIONAL CLAIMS HIGHLIGHTED

If we analyze the most important functional claims, following the graph showing the benefits provided by the product, we observe that the most important functional claims, following the graph showing the benefits provided by the product, we see that the claims The most relevant claims for Spanish consumers are products that provide energy, those that favor the immune system and, lastly, those that promote bone health.

Source: Mintel GNPD, 2021 - 2023. Spain

Vitamin- and mineral-enriched products are also showing increasing interest. In fact, 40% of U.S. consumers would like to consume foods and beverages that are richer in vitamins and minerals. 

Brands can address this situation by incorporating functional ingredients or superfoods to improve the nutritional value of their products, highlight their health benefits and be more appealing to consumers.

The most common categories to fortify with functional ingredients are energy drinks, baby food, nutritional beverages and breakfast cereals.

TRENDS IN FUNCTIONAL FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS

COGNITIVE HEALTH

Consumers are showing interest in functional formulations that are committed to increasing energy levels and productivity, causing a growth in energy food launches in cereals, bars, savory snacks and fruits.

On the other hand, there has also been an increase in the search for products that help to relax and rest during the night, as well as those that reduce stress. Beverages are ideal to respond to this need, as they are accessible, affordable and have an appealing taste.

Source: Mintel GNPD, August 2021 - July 2023. Europe

Bardo Ventures® (UK)
Snack with blackberry, Brazil nuts, wild mint and juniper berries. Includes a claim on mental clarity and concentration.

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IMMUNE / DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Immune health has become a major concern today, along with digestive health, strength and mental wellness, as they are all playing a crucial role in the care of our bodies. 

80% of U.S. consumers are interested in consuming foods or beverages to support their immune system against possible future diseases.

In Spain, food is being revalued as a fundamental tool for the prevention and improvement of immune health, as consumers are learning the connection between the brain and gutConsumers are learning the connection between brain and gut, which leads them to increasingly relate gut health to immunity and to seek a holistic approach to their wellbeing.

PRODUCTS AND INGREDIENTS ACCORDING TO THE IMMUNE OR DIGESTIVE HEALTH CLAIM

Products that stand out for their immune health claims include fruit juices, baby food and dairy products. On the other hand, for digestive health, dairy products and hot beverages, such as tea, are recognized as key elements. 

In addition, the most common ingredients in fortification for immune and digestive health are vitamins, minerals, botanicals, fiber, prebiotics, probiotics and even postbiotics. Among these examples, prebiotics such as inulin or galactooligosaccharides stand out and are becoming more and more common.
As for fiber source claims, the most relevant ingredients such as oats or different fruits and vegetables are the most commonly used.

Source: Mintel GNPD, 2019 - 2023. Spain

Moju Drinks® (UK)
Juice based on fruits rich in vitamin C (acerola, blueberry, lime, etc) in shot format. Enriched in Zinc and vitamin D, a combination that contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system.

BONE AND JOINT CARE

Although there is a clear need to educate consumers more about the gut-bone connection, awareness of the direct link is slowly connection, there is a gradual realization that a direct relationship exists. This is due to increasingly accepted scientific evidence that bone health and strength depend on a balanced diet that provides a steady stream of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium.

In fact, 28% of Spanish consumers consume functional foods and beverages to improve their bone health. However, it is worrying that 75% of the population suffers from vitamin D deficiency.

Given this situation, brands should consider using probiotics, prebiotics and other ingredients that benefit the gut to promote and restore consumers' bone health.

HEALTHY AGING

Generation X, currently between the ages of 44 and 58, is leading a new approach to healthy aging that focuses on extending life expectancy without compromising health. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030 it is estimated that 1 in 6 people worldwide will be over the age of 60. 

Brands should consider the diverse nutritional needs of consumers, and could employ "precision nutrition," which pays attention to both physical and mental health in older and middle-aged adults.

Vitality 50+ Dietary Supplement P&G, Bion 3® (France)
Dietary supplement indicated for people over 50 years old. The positioning attributes are related to cognitive, energetic and immune system support thanks to various botanical extracts, vitamins and minerals.

WOMEN'S HEALTH

Throughout their lives, women experience a series of hormonal and physiological changes that influence their nutritional needs. From adolescence through menopause and beyond, the demands on the female body vary significantly. 

This is why brands can play a crucial role in accompanying women at every stage of their lives by offering functional foods, beverages and supplements designed specifically to meet their diverse needs.

Menopace Vitabiotics® (UK)
From premenopause to postmenopause, bone health undergoes significant deterioration due to lower estrogen levels. Calcium and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis.

TRENDS IN FOOD SUPPLEMENTS

The food supplements sector has experienced growth in the last 3 years, highlighting the consumer's search for personal care, wellness, and extending life expectancy with more physical activity. and wellness, and extending life expectancy with more physical activity. In fact, 75% of the Spanish population claims to have consumed some type of supplements.

Below are three profiles of interest(according to FIAB) for brands to understand the needs that consumers are seeking to satisfy:

FOOD SUPPLEMENTS

Consumers seek dietary supplements for a variety of purposes, including improving their overall health (70.9%), reducing fatigue and tiredness (35%), maintaining bone, cartilage and muscle health (34%), treating specific diseases (28%), preventing illness (18%), strengthening the immune system (26%), improving sleep quality (23%) and enhancing athletic performance (16%).

FOODS FOR WEIGHT CONTROL

Weight-control foods, most popular among women aged 18 to 45, often include options to replace some foods. Fifty-five percent of consumers use them to supplement a weight loss diet, 22% opt out of a strict diet and consume them as part of a flexible approach to weight management.

FOOD FOR ATHLETES

Sports foods, consumed mainly by men aged 18 to 45 years, include products such as energy bars, protein preparations, sports drinks and caffeinated beverages. With these products, 55% seek to improve sports performance, 54% seek to replenish energy and nutrients, and an equally high percentage, 54%, seek to improve their overall health.

Focusing on the categories, and as we can see in the graph below, the most popular formats in food supplements are tablets and capsules, while the most demanded ingredients are vitamin D, vitamin C and magnesium. Likewise, fast-acting, long-lasting and convenience claims are the most valued by consumers.

Source: Mintel GNPD, 2019 - 2023. Spain

In terms of innovation in complements, formats, textures, innovative product flavors and new packaging can help to convey greater efficacy to the consumer. Some examples of innovative formats in complements are gummies, soluble strips and roll-ons or aerosols.

Immune Strips Nutrastrips (United States)
Fast-dissolving oral strips made by patented FlashRelease™ technology. They contain vitamin D and Zinc for immune system care. The manufacturer assures fast action.

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