Consumers are increasingly looking for foods and beverages that are tailored to their specific health and diet needs. According to a survey1 from the International Food Information Council, 43% of Americans followed a specific diet or eating pattern in the last year (up from 38% in 2019 and 36% in 2018). The most popular diet plans include intermittent fasting, clean eating, ketogenic or high-fat diet, low-carb diet, gluten-free diet and plant-based diet.
With perceptions of “healthy eating” evolving rapidly, it can be difficult for brands to predict which lifestyle diet trends have true staying power. By understanding the motivations behind consumers’ food choices, product developers can uncover opportunities for innovation, and align their products with new and emerging consumer preferences, such as:
1. Eating “clean”
Many popular diet trends focus on reducing consumption of highly processed foods and ingredients.
According to the IFIC survey, “natural” labels are the most influential when shopping or purchasing food prepared out of the home. Consumers also consider recognizable ingredients (such as those that might be found in a household pantry) to be cleaner and healthier. Brands can win by forgoing processed and artificial ingredients for natural, clean-label alternatives.
2. Protecting the planet
Environmental and ethical concerns are among the top reasons that consumers are choosing to eat more plant-based foods. Nearly a third (34%) of shoppers say that environmental sustainability has a real impact on their purchase decisions, up from 27% in in 2019.1
To meet demand for more sustainable food choices, brands can innovate with nutritious plant-based ingredients that limit food waste, have a high degree of traceability, and a low impact on the environment.
3. “Positive” nutrition
While many popular lifestyle diets, like the ketogenic diet, are focused on cutting out specific types of foods, positive nutrition focuses on increasing consumption of “good” foods that offer nutritional benefits. Brands can take advantage of the positive nutrition mindset by positioning their products as part of a well-balanced diet. Fiber, whole grains, plant-based protein and probiotics are some of the key nutritional benefits that consumers look for on the label.
Versatile Ingredient Solutions
R&D teams can enhance consumer appeal for new products by incorporating more healthy and recognizable ingredients into their formulations, and by emphasizing an ethical and clean label story. Unique flavors and textures are also important for capturing consumer interest, as even health-conscious consumers still rank taste as the primary motivator for food purchases.1
Baked inclusions can help product developers deliver enhanced flavor, texture and visual appeal. Chaucer offers several sweet and savory baked ingredients that are available as stand-alone snacks, inclusions, crumbs, coatings, and toppings to give food manufacturers more versatility in innovating new products or refreshing existing product lines, from meals and snacks to dairy and confectionery.
All of Chaucer’s baked selections are made using authentic ingredients and contain no additives or artificial preservatives, supporting a simpler label. Additionally, many of the baked products are vegan, kosher and non-GMO, enabling product developers to formulate new and indulgent snack offerings for consumers with specific dietary preferences.
Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables can help product developers deliver more appealing plant-based products. Unlike other drying methods, the freeze-drying process preserves the shape, color and flavor of fruit and vegetables, as well as key nutrients. When used as an ingredient, inclusion, or topping, freeze-dried fruit and vegetables can add authentic nutrition and natural colors and flavors to a range of food and drink applications, including beverages, snacks, bakery, confectionery and dairy.
1. 2020 Food & Health Survey, International Food Information Council. 2020.