Q&A: Boosting Moods with Chaucer Foods

February 2023

Have you ever thought “if I don’t get a candy bar soon, I’ll snap” or spent the whole day gearing up for the delicious pasta dish waiting for you at dinner? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Whether you just feel tired, out of sync, or totally “hangry,” our moods are often impacted by the types of food we eat, or the types of food we aren’t eating enough of. This demand by global consumers for “mood food,” or foods that improve your mood with health benefits, is a market sector still ripe to be tapped into. With 33% of Gen Z shoppers seeking an emotional or mental health benefit from food and beverages1, you can provide the in-demand benefits people want and connect your products with a sense of happiness, fulfillment, and energy—something that’s sure to have them coming back for more.

Surprisingly enough, pivoting to meet this demand is quite simple. By adding ingredients with proven health benefits, such as dark chocolate for brain health or berries for their ability to manage mood disorders, brands can offer consumers the mood enhancement they’re seeking—without making major formulation changes.

We chatted with Aurélie Jacquet, EMEA NPD Manager, and Natty Baudrillard, NPD Project Leader at Chaucer Foods, to explore the growing interest in mood food and learn about potential industry innovations.

Q: What does “mood food” mean to the consumer?

Aurélie: Whether they’re a parent looking to substitute candy with brain boosting snacks, or just searching for a food that increases their focus and memory at work, consumers want natural products that improve their lives—creating the idea of “mood food.”

Natty: Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on sleep. As a result of this, people look for mood foods that take the power of natural ingredients and transform it into a tasty, beneficial product that they can enjoy.

Q: Has interest in mood boosting foods grown? If so, will it continue to increase or begin to plateau?
Aurélie: While the pandemic caused a spike in interest in mood-food to help improve their stress, depression and anxiety2, the trend will continue to rise. Despite the growth, not every shopper is going to believe the marketing language on the label. As interest grows, folks will become more mindful of their mood food, or health food in general, and will look for proof of the benefits their purchases claim to deliver.

Natty: The growth in mood boosting products has been rising over the years, with no signs of stopping. With younger generations becoming more aware of how their overall health can be impacted by mental illnesses and stress, they will look to natural foods for a remedy. We will see an influx of products with ingredients that have mood boosting properties, such as fruits and vegetables.

Q: What are the most sought-after food benefits?
Aurélie: We are seeing demands for relaxation, sleep-aid, and memory enhancement benefits. From fortified cookies to enhanced smoothies, global shoppers are more likely to trust natural sources, like freeze-dried strawberries.

Natty: We’re also seeing a rise in claims for improved cognitive function and anti-aging brain properties. Studies show that foods like berries, fish, and green, leafy vegetables are a great source of brain food to protect memory and mental function3. With this in mind (get it?!), brands can utilize brain-friendly ingredients to formulate products that can help boost mental function.

Q: What formulations work best with mood-boosting ingredients?
Aurélie:This is important for your R&D teams to remember. Products that appeal to all consumers, health-conscious or not, work the best when they offer to solve the problem people face. Brands can incorporate the benefits into a range of mood foods for people to choose what product works best for their needs, instead of a one-size-fits-all offering.

Natty: Your customers want the traditional products they’re comfortable with, but with a boosted twist. Instead of attempting to make consumers change their lifestyles entirely, simple swaps make it easier for them to lead an improved life. With products such as sleep-aid chocolate made with freeze-dried fruits, people can eat what they enjoy—while still getting the desired benefits.

Q: In what ways can working with Chaucer ingredients help formulators meet current and future demands?
Aurélie: Currently, we are developing a new range of freeze-dried smoothie options focusing on four categories:
– Vitality
– Immunity
– Digestive Improvement
– Sleep Improvement

The smoothie range offers consumers an opportunity to improve their diet without changing their lifestyle. Composed of a 100% fruit puree, and enriched with vitamins and nutrients, these provide around 30% of your vitamin and nutrient daily requirement!

Natty: We have the capabilities to customize recipes in terms of taste, shape and composition to achieve the claims that formulators are targeting. Chaucer Foods also offers an expansive range of freeze-dried ingredient powders and pieces, which can help companies add a long shelf-life, nutritional value, and mood boost to their recipes.

Looking for more information on how to use freeze-dried ingredients to innovate natural products? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

1“Health and Nutrition Trends: The Food-Mood Connection,” Ketchum. 2022.
2“Brain Health Supplements Market Analysis,” Coherent Market Insights. 2020.
3“Foods linked to better brainpower,” Harvard Medical School. 2021.

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