- Adaptogenic herbs are part of a trend where consumers implement ancient diets and ingredients. They're looking for products that focus on nutrient-dense ingredients and limited processing, according to Food Business News. These ingredients include Peruvian maca root, licorice root, reishi and chaga mushrooms, and holy basil, among others.
- Based on research, adaptogenic herbs have a strong ability to resonate with mainstream consumers, Eric Pierce, director of business insights for New Hope Network, told attendees at the Natural Food Products Expo West. He says most consumers aren’t familiar with these herbs and that product concepts should connect to alleviating stress or to a recognizable ingredient.
- Ginseng, which is known for increasing energy and supporting immunity, was featured in new beverages at the Expo including organic energy drinks and ready-to-drink decaffeinated tea. One company had ready-to-drink elixirs and tonics consisting of herbs to improve energy levels and reduce stress, such as a maca mocha and ashwagandha chai.
Functional foods represent a valuable opportunity for manufacturers to meet consumer demands with healthy and on-trend ingredients. Mintel included functional foods and beverages, particularly in the realm of sports nutrition, in its list of critical food industry trends manufacturers would adapt in 2016.
Ingredion executives have identified a developing functional trend in examining the microbiome and are exploring the best ways to use this to meet customer needs. The company is looking at how it might collaborate with probiotic supplying companies to develop targeted prebiotics.
"Is this going to be a personalized nutrition play or is there more of a mass nutrition play? That's what's unknown at this point," Tony DeLio chief innovation officer and senior vice president, Ingredion, told Food Dive, after a presentation at CAGNY in February.
At a presentation by the New Hope Network and the Natural Marketing Institute at Natural Food Products Expo West, research found that in addition to seeking nutrient-dense functional foods, consumers seek food and supplement products to alleviate stress.