A unanimous observation by Food Industry Stalwarts is that global health trends go hand in hand with predominant food and beverage choices. Be it the ingredients or the processed food/beverage labels preferred, health has always been an important determinant of consumer preferences. Nothing has made this correlation more evident than the Covid-19 pandemic. Most health food trending today has been a direct outcome of the global health concerns sparked by the pandemic.
Here’s a glimpse of the key health food trends 2021:-
Conscious Purchasing of Nutrient-rich Food and Beverages
AI-led research and statistical factoring have highlighted a remarkable increase in the number of consumers opting for healthy foods. The following health-food choices are particularly trending in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic:-
- Processed food and beverages that are nutritionally enhanced with Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Iron
- Organic fare with natural, immunity-boosting herbs like basil, lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric
- Fruity/ citrusy foods with bright orange and yellow hues, signifying the abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Comforting, therapeutic foods like chicken broth, apple pie, jasmine tea, and so on
Shifting Focus from Animal Protein to Plant Protein
Amongst the health food trends 2021, this strategic shift is the most noteworthy. For over a century, meat and dairy have been associated with providing the human body with the best protein content. The holistic balance of amino acids in animal protein was hailed by nutritionists worldwide. However, these notions are almost done away with today. Animal-based protein (red meat) in particular is being linked with several metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Simultaneously, it is being propounded that lactose is detrimental to gut health. Consumers today are thus heavily relying on vegan protein sources like chickpeas, almonds, cashews, soy, oats, quinoa, and various other legumes, grains, and nuts.
Leaning towards Sustainable Living
About two decades ago, issues like climate change, global warming, and environmental degradation-led catastrophes seemed like far-distant phenomena. Today, we are living in this reality, with ecological and climate-led disasters striking all around us. Although this is not a direct health trend, it certainly impacts our mental health and overall well-being. Therefore, from a handful of environmentalists, leaning towards local, fresh, seasonal, and sustainable foods with a low carbon footprint is the latest consumer trend. Food and beverage brands must take cognizance of this trend. Ensuring transparent supply chains with sustainable practices will ensure that consumers flock towards your products, even if they are priced marginally above those of your competitors. The same goes for cruelty-free labels, eco-friendly packaging, water recycling, use of renewable energy, and so on.
The Gut Health Revolution has reinvigorated Fermented Foods
Over the last couple of years and especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple research papers have cited the link between gastrointestinal health and immunity. In fact, your gut health and microbiome are known to affect your heart health, mental health, and overall wellness. This has ushered in high market demand for both traditional and contemporary fermented food and drinks. So on one hand, you have native fare like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Miso, and Tempeh selling well. On the other hand, food and beverage innovation is yielding novel probiotic fare like fermented lemonade, vegan yogurts, and lactobacillus-infused organic juices.
Across the world, brands that have banked on data-driven foresight for food and beverage innovation have reaped excellent ROI. At any given point in time, general market surveys will point out several health food trends. But as an entrepreneur, you cannot risk putting your money in any trend randomly. The key to success lies in discretion and business decisions steered by concrete data analysis.