In the United States, foods that may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, identified as functional foods, are becoming a key part of everyday life, according to a new article appearing in Food Technology, a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Liz Sloan, Contributing Editor and President of Sloan Trends and Solutions, a trending and market predictions firm focusing on the food industry, has identified the top 5 trends in functional foods.
The article noted that the majority of Americans, 69 percent are incorporating foods into a preventative lifestyle, while 27 percent are utilizing food as a treatment to manage a pre-existing health condition.
One-third of shoppers (36 percent) are trying to reduce the risk of developing a health condition, follow a doctor's advice (30 percent) or manage/treat a specific condition on their own (25 percent), according to the Food Marketing Institute¹ data.
"Today's consumers are extremely sophisticated, and they are attracted to functional foods' ability to help manage health and wellness," said IFT spokesperson Roger Clemens, PhD. Simply put, Americans are relying heavily on the foods they consume to improve their well-being.
Top five food trends identified are:
1. Healthy Household Halo - Americans are looking to create a healthy household. Approximately 57 percent of shoppers are making a lot of effort to eat healthier. With half (53 percent) of adults controlling their diet - 61 percent for weight, 36 percent cholesterol, 22 percent blood sugar, 18 percent high blood pressure, and 14 percent diabetes. . Natural End Benefits - Recent scientific validation of the health benefits of superfoods have convinced consumers that key benefits are, in fact, naturally achievable, thus creating a new trend to whole food nutrition. New superfoods include: blood oranges, goji berries, seabuckthorn.
3. Balancing The "Bul-get" - The U.S. weight loss market-projected to grow from 58 billion dollars to 69 billion dollars by 2010-is undergoing a sea change as consumers shift from dieting/weight loss programs to managing weight via smaller portions, specific food restrictions, and light/low-fat and super-satiating foods
4. Contemporary Conditions - As 31 million Americans turn age 65 over the next 10 years, and the oldest of the 76 million baby boomers enter their 60s, the demand for condition-specific foods will skyrocket. Conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and diabetes have created a need for functional foods to manage/treat these conditions. Boomers are looking to consume more omega-3s, polyphenols, flavanols, and plant sterols as part of a balanced lifestyle.
5. Proactive Lifestyles - With the majority of consumers trying to live a preventive lifestyle, fortified foods and beverages have quickly become a way of life.