Rising demand seen in healthy food, drinks

Demand for healthy food and drinks is increasing as more consumers turn to these products to improve their overall health amid the pandemic.

“Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) has indeed reinforced the importance of having a healthy immune system. Immunity benefits continue to resonate as people look for ways to support their immune system and protect themselves from Covid-19 and other illnesses,” Michelle Teodoro, Mintel’s associate director for food science at Asia Pacific, said in a webinar.

Teodoro said many consumers are turning to vitamins, proteins, probiotics, and even traditional medicine practices remedies to support immune health.

She said digestive health is another area of health that needs to focus on which is increasingly recognized as an integral contributor to overall well-being.

“We are seeing probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics will be the next frontier ingredients in products that can play a role in functional food and drink to help consumers support their immune system by supporting their digestive health,” she added.

Teodoro said stress and burnout that have been accelerated by the pandemic have created demand for functional products.

“Tapping the trend on how consumers will look for products that help them focus, relax, and probably cope-up with stress. Mental health and well-being benefits in products are worth exploring,” she said.

Teodoro said comfort foods are also often sought by consumers when they are feeling stressed or having anxiety.

She said consumers’ holistic health incorporates physical, mental and social well-being.
Healthy and nutrient-dense products have to be leveraged to support well-being goals, she said.

“Healthy diet is also used as a strategy to fight chronic diseases and give new urgency to create products that are low sugar, low sodium, nutrient-dense, and plants-centric,” she added.

In the next five years, Teodoro sees a shift from “better for you” to “better for us” healthy eating.

“Tomorrow’s healthy diets will be those that also support the health of the planet and everyone in it. You can see sustainable ingredients, healthier products, and nutrition equity go hand in hand for a better future,” she said.

Teodoro said affordable nutrition is an emerging concept that will gain traction amid the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Almost a quarter of Filipino consumers strongly admit that healthy food is too expensive to buy on a regular basis so this will suggest opportunities to promote the nutritional benefits of affordable staples…,” she added.

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