In part four of our Changing Tastes series, we delve into the growing taste for nutraceuticals, exploring how and why they’re becoming a top choice for young consumers

Part three of our Changing Tastes series looked at how ambient drinking yoghurt’s high level of convenience has made it an extremely successful product segment – particularly amongst young consumers in China. Another segment that’s quickly captured the millennial market is the nutrient-rich world of nutraceuticals – products promising consumers good health and an even better conscious.

Functional on the go

Commonly referred to as functional food and drinks, nutraceuticals are essentially any substance in a food or beverage providing extra health benefits. Most popular among on-the-move, time-pressed millennials are nutraceutical beverages that allow them to reap the benefits of good nutrition without having to stop what they’re doing and prepare a meal or snack. 

Popular nutraceutical beverages include products like mineral or vitamin waters, plant-based drinks or milk alternatives fortified with probiotics. Usually these drinks are not only marketed as healthy options but also as organic and responsibly-sourced, tapping further into the demands of today’s health- and environmentally-conscious millennials. 

Superfood to supertrend 

As we reported last year, the superfood trend is still going strong. Consumers are increasingly drawn to nutritionally-dense ingredients like turmeric, activated charcoal, matcha, melatonin and aloe vera. The addition of these hyped vitamins and supplements to convenient foods and beverages means even healthier grab-and-go options.

Some major superfood trends we’ve seen over the past few years – like the use of collagen, mushrooms and functional botanicals – are only going to continue to evolve over time as the demand for nutraceuticals increases. 

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A plant-based mindset

Around the world, many consumers are increasingly adopting a flexitarian diet – predominantly meat-free with occasional meat consumption. A growing perception is that plant-based products are not only better for your health but more sustainable than animal products. This trend has seen plant-based product claims grow by 62% (CAGR 2013-2017) according to figures from NDP Group. 

Plant-based milk alternatives – including almond, soy, coconut and even peanut – are also gaining popularity amongst flexitarians and other eco-conscious consumers. Datassential, for example, reports that 83% of people who use milk in their coffee are at least interested in using plant-based alternatives while 34% already use them often.

Bold not bland 

While many health-conscious, environmentally-friendly products come with serious health promises, they certainly aren’t boring in looks or taste. For millennials, the colour and overall presentation of the products they’re consuming is crucial — after all, many will often end up on Instagram. Luckily enough, several superfoods included in nutraceuticals like beet, matcha and blue algae are naturally bright and beautiful and ready for the big stage. 

Flavour-wise, nutraceuticals can be just as bold as their colours with new and exciting tastes like goji berry, açaí and lavender. As many of these ‘new’ ingredients are sourced from around the world, there’s also been an marked rise in exotic flavours like cardamom, ginger, cayenne, jalapeño, and habanero. 

Good for us and the planet 

In the world of nutraceuticals, sustainability goes hand in hand with nutrition. Health-conscious consumers often search for products that are responsibly sourced, produced and packaged, and are prepared to pay a premium for products with a sustainable claim.

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SIG’s drinksplus solution enables nutraceuticals to contain more naturally-sourced, nutrient-dense ingredients. drinksplus allows beverages to contain real food pieces, such as fruit, vegetables or cereal grains, with a potential particulate content of 10%. Examples of which include everything from vegetable drinks with pieces of aloe vera to drinkable high-protein milk snacks and health drinks with konyaki pearls.

The term ‘nutraceuticals’ might be new to many but this new wave products certainly won’t be in the future. As consumers increasingly demand products that benefit both our health and planet, nutraceuticals won’t be going away any time soon.

Want to know more about creating nutraceuticals with SIG? Get in touch or learn more about our solutions for Product Innovation & Differentiation.

And don’t miss part five of our Changing Tastes series when we’ll look at the growing popularity of fermented milk products with proven probiotic benefits.

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