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Trends & Insights

Guilt-free indulgence

A deeper look at current market indicators which state that consumers not only prefer health promoting foods, they also want to have indulgent treats that carry a health claim.
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Motivating consumers to choose health foods

More consumers may be focusing on health giving foods in this post-pandemic world, but for the most part taste still ranks very high. Gen Y and Gen Z especially are seeking out foods and beverages that are manufactured with focus on taste, nutrition, and sustainability.

Consumers today are relying more on authenticity, which is provided directly by mother nature. That is why the simplest and cleanest foods (with as few ingredients as possible) are often considered to be the healthiest. Shoppers have also come to prefer foods that have been manufactured without harm to the planet. Reducing waste and upcycling keeps gaining popularity, leading to the expansion of the clean label movement.

Trends are leaning towards consumers incorporating more guilt-free indulgent foods and treats into their diet. Guilt-free foods are typically indulgent but made healthy by fortifying them with supplements for added nutrition. More consumers are looking for ways to incorporate protein and other supplements through food options that are not traditionally considered healthy. As people have become more aware of the connections between health and diet, their desire for healthier products has risen. That said, healthy foods are inspected not only for the added nutrition, but consumers demand the transparency of what is not contained. This includes claims like low/reduced/no sugar, phosphates, fats, E-numbers, soy, gluten, etc.

Protein is king

Protein remains one of the biggest food trends out there, in recent years there has been a greater emphasis on communicating protein’s health claims beyond muscle health, such as:

  • Boosting the immune system
  • Increasing metabolism
  • Promoting healthy brain function
  • Helping maintain strong bones
  • Slowing ageing and promote longevity
  • Protecting heart health

With this whole range of benefits, brands and retailers are jumping on board with protein lead initiatives, that appeal to consumers wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Rising consumer demand for healthier food has resulted in the growth of the protein segment. The global launches of foods and beverages with a protein claim has risen steadily over the past five years (growth especially during pandemic), a trend that is holding a steady place in the market. It is easier to get the recommended daily dose of nutrition from an indulgent treat, than it is to consume a balanced combination of ‘meat and two veg’. Adding protein and/or collagen to the recipe has been known to vastly increase consumer appeal.

More consumers are supporting food and beverages with high in protein claims

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The rise of the snacks

Indulgent snacks account for nearly two thirds of the snack sales market, but in the last few years, healthy snacks have begun to outpace traditional snacks. Consumers are looking for healthy indulgent snacks that are lower in calories and total fat, including trans and saturated fat, yet also provide a positive addition to the diet, such as whole grains. Indulgent products that are linked to premium foods are in high demand, such as those labeled all natural or organic. Consumers are persuaded by health and indulgence, which can be seen in their willingness to indulge in snack bars, functional beverages, and fortified cookies because of their potential health benefits.

Miniatures are winning

Mini healthy desserts brought on by and snackification have been increasing in popularity over the past few years. Research suggests that smaller pieces of food are more rewarding and lead to a greater feeling of fullness than one large piece of food with equal energy values. The minis allow us to enjoy a sweet treat while watching our weight and help consumers be more economical by reducing food waste. Additionally, regular foods are packaged in smaller quantities and classified as snacks for people on the go.

Get in on the rising market that caters to consumers who prefer healthy guilt-free indulgence. Co-create with knowledgeable experts in Essentia’s innovation center, to find out how 100 % natural clean label ingredients can elevate your brand. Get in touch to find out options for cleaning up your recipe and be part of the movement towards reducing or in some cases completely removing additives from your products. The applications division will work with you to explore the optimal custom solutions that suit your needs, to help find the desired nutrition profile for your products. Learn more by contacting a representative near you.