2015 saw consumers taking control of their own health and weight management recognising that health is intrinsically linked to individual food and lifestyle choices.
Increasing demand for a personalised approach to wellness driving innovation in the fields of sports nutrition, weight management and healthy snacking. And the trend continues for 2016 with a focus on ‘clean’, plant-based products and an emphasis on healthy fats and proteins.
Ingredients, advice and claims: what’s next?
Naturally functional foods will continue to dominate, particularly those that claim benefits for sports performance and weight management – such as complex carbohydrates, particularly seeds and grains, and ‘healthy fats’. The use of protein products, such as whey, will become more mainstream.
'Free-from’ ingredient trends looks set to stay. Products that claim to promote digestive benefits – such as ‘alternative’ flours, dairy free milks and ancient grains, as well as prebiotic and probiotic supplements – are likely to proliferate. Sugar replaced fat and salt to become one of the most vilified ingredients in 2015 – and will contribute to further growth of the ‘free-from’ market and the demand for unrefined, natural ingredients. Products made with plant-based superfoods and containing powerful antioxidants, such as raw cacao and matcha, will further boost claims of the medicinal properties of natural ingredients.
What is the future for personalised nutrition?
The recognition that each individual has their own nutritional profile and responds to ingredients in a different way is transforming the role technology can play in this sector.
There is a strong appetite for consolidation amongst pharmaceutical, food and technology companies, as the trend in digital health and prevalence of apps and wearable devices give individuals a perceived sense of control over their own wellbeing by providing measurable facts and statistics.
This in turn provides companies with the ability to analyse consumer behaviour more effectively, use this data to tailor products to individuals and market them in such a way that is motivating and empowering.
Sports nutrition has gone mainstream. What does it mean for nutraceuticals?
Sports nutrition is no longer the domain of athletes; it continues to move to the mainstream, largely driven by the focus on protein for both sports performance and weight management. Protein supplements, such as whey, are increasingly in demand and used in combination with fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet to go hand in hand with an active lifestyle.
The past year has seen an increase in the appeal of protein supplements for women thanks to the prevalence of the ‘strong not skinny’ trend and growing popularity of women’s resistance training. The use of supplements as part of daily nutrition is likely to generate an increase in innovation around proteins that contain a wide range of amino acids and that target specific goals such as weight loss, energy, satiety and muscle repair.
What about opportunities among the senior population?
The number of adults over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050. As incidence of chronic disease – notably obesity, diabetes and cancer – continues to increase, a shift towards prevention rather than treatment is needed to match quality of health to the rise in longevity.
Personalised nutrition and technology trends are going some way to ensuring individuals take a more proactive part in addressing their own health needs. But a number of today’s chronic conditions are lifestyle diseases. So further behavioural changes are critical to ensuring a healthier ageing population.
Consumers have access to increasing amounts of data, enabling them to make rational choices. However, as non-rational beings, there needs to be a greater understanding of how to incentivise people to make decisions that will benefit them in the long term. Progress is being made. For example, health devices can track activity and reward good behaviours. Published advice emphasises the importance of making small, sustainable lifestyle changes that have a lasting impact.
How do ‘clean label’ and ‘freefrom’ trends drive innovation in supplements?
Consumers increasingly want to know the provenance of their food; clean labelling is fast becoming the norm. The demand for products containing only a few, more recognisable, ingredients – and without additives or preservatives – is likely to contribute to an increase in products that are natural and unprocessed.
The requirement for information about both the contents and origins of products will necessitate greater transparency within the wellness industry on supplement development and formulation. The normalisation of dietary supplements should lead to an increase in innovation, with a particular emphasis on vitamins, minerals and amino acids found in plant compounds, reflecting the overarching trend for natural, clean ingredients