Functional Food and Beverages

Coronavirus Increases Demand for Functional Food and Beverages

While the worldwide pandemic remains in full swing and the the CPG industry continues to ebb and flow around the demands of the consumer, one thing has become abundantly clear: the demand for functional food and beverages has risen, and there is no end in sight. Prior to COVID-19, people most commonly looked to vitamins and herbal supplements for their immune-boosting benefits while functional food and beverages were still a second thought in the mind of the consumer. Now, with the threat of coronavirus, more and more have become enlightened to exponential options that help to improve health while simultaneously strengthening the immune system.

The Evolution

In recent years, functional food and beverages have become a growing trend as we began to see consumers demand more out of their everyday snacks and drinks. Fermented teas offering probiotics contributing to digestive health, known as kombucha, have exploded to a market valuation of $492 million just last year, an increase of over $340 million from only four years ago. We’ve begun to move away from whole grains and into ancient grains, from granola bars into “immunity bars”. Food that was once reserved for the patchouli-laden health food store have now gone mainstream, with coronavirus upping the ante more than ever.

“Where consumers once viewed snackes as indulgences, today’s shoppers increasingly look for snacks that can help them achieve their health and wellness goals.” reports Pam Stauffer, Global Marketing Programs Manager at Cargill in an article for SmartBrief. “The next generation of products with superfoods and botanical ingredients are just around the corner.”

Large brands have begun to take part in the functional food and beverage wave as well, Pepsico has launced their own line of kombucha, Kevita, to capitalize on the growth seen in the market. Barilla’s line of pastas have recently completed a collaboration with the upcycled food company, ReGrained, to offer a pasta made from brewer’s spent grain which is high in prebiotic fiber and offers substantial digestive and immune benefits.

Functional Food and Beverages

Kombucha, a fermented tea known for its digestive benefits, has grown to a market valuation of over $450 million in recent years.

Rising Demand Amidst Coronavirus

Reports have shown that the demand for functional food and beverages have steadily increased in demand as the pandemic has spread. Consumers are looking to improve and preserve their health now more than ever. When consumer buying patterns changed in response to the announcement of impending quarantine, some of the very first items to go out of stock (after toilet paper and cleaning supplies) were foods offering immune system support. Now that buying has begun to level off and a new normal has been created, brand loyalty has even begun to change as a result. Whereas customers were previously loyal to specific brands, consumers have been more open to trying new options.

According to Doug Baker of the Food Industry Association, “When it’s a matter of necessity and there might be fewer brands, it’s more about caloric intake and less about the brand. Brands that put a premium on being transparent will continue to win over consumers.”


Using Technology to Offer Transparency

Developing new product recipes to supply the demand for functional food and beverages doesn’t have to be as complicated as putting a dietitian on your payroll. With proper nutritional analysis software that provides nutrient thresholds such as “keto”, “low-fat”, “high protein” and other options, creating a recipe is as easy as taking to the kitchen and simultaneously entering the data. This is what makes LabelCalc so extraordinary. Not only does the LabelCalc software provide FDA-approved nutrition facts panels, but it comes with the ability to flag allergens in your product recipes as you create them and provides the opportunity to create a product around the nutrient preferences of the consumer.

Curious about how you can use LabelCalc to take part in the growing market for functional food and beverages? Contact us today. 

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