Food And Nutrition Trends

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Food And Nutrition Trends


The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally shifted general health trends along with how we eat. The popularity of functional food in particular has drastically increased and consumer health concerns have risen. Contributed by Euromonitor International.


Mindful Eating And Food As Medicine

Lines between food and supplements blur as functionality becomes a priority for consumers, particularly in areas like immune support, gut health and mood management. Ingredients and nutritional properties are also under scrutiny as more consumers look for trendy ingredients and governments remain concerned about public health.


Immunity and gut health:A strong consumer desire for immunity-boosting food and drinks has inspired product innovation. For example, immune system health claims in yoghurt and sour milk products increased by 24% and probiotic claims grew by 9% globally between 2019 and 2020. (Source: Euromonitor Product Claims and Positioning 2021 n=16,224). The trend is increasingly moving from probiotics towards the addition of prebiotics and a growing field of interest with ongoing research is the gut-brain axis, which suggests a happy gut leads to a happy mood.


Food for the body and mind: Addressing emotional and mental wellbeing through mood management, stress relief and sleep aids has become a key trend in the food and nutrition space. Companies have already started exploring different ways to position their products in this space. For example, CBD-infused food and drinks, the use of adaptogens like ashwagandha and nootropics such as L-theanine are gaining momentum for their stress reducing and mood uplifting properties.


Functional food targeting beauty and beyond: Collagen is one of the functional ingredients that has seen strong growth in recent years, largely coming from its links to hair, skin, nails and joints benefits. According to Euromonitor’s 2021 Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey, 46% of global consumers are moderately or extremely concerned about their skin health and 52% about joint and muscle pain. With this in mind, leading food and beverage companies have started to invest in this area. For example, Danone launched its first collagen-packed yoghurt under its Light+Fit brand in the US in 2020.


Clean label and minimal processing: Consumers are increasingly seeking transparency, less processed and inherently more natural products. According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey in 2021, The following are the most sought after ingredient preferences around clean label: Free from preservatives, natural, limited or no artificial ingredients, no GMO and no MSG. Growing consumer demand for simple and recognisable ingredients with health credentials is driving product innovation. More companies are re-engineering product formulas to include less ingredients and remove or replace artificial ones with more natural options. A growing claim landscape highlights that there is room for companies to make better use of clean label declarations, especially regarding natural, the leading claim in packaged food.


Digital wellness and personalisation: Innovative technologies are empowering consumers to take control of their own health goals. Various apps and online services are helping consumers to manage their weight, food intolerances and preferences (more plant-based, less processed, etc.). The demand for microbiome and DNA testing is also growing, creating more opportunities for personalised nutrition. Leading food players are investing in digital wellness solutions, from direct-to-consumer models, like Nestlé’s acquisition of healthy recipe box provider Mindful Chef, to personalised nutrition concepts. Nestlé also launched nesQino in China during 2020, enabling consumers to customise and create a range of healthy superfood drinks.


The rise of special diets: Lifestyle diets such as keto, paleo or low-carb have seen a surge in recent years, spurring product innovation and resulting in a wave of new product launches. While only 9% of global consumers indicate they follow a strict low or no carbohydrate diet in 2021, 38% say that they eat less carbohydrates in an attempt to lose weight, according to Euromonitor’s 2021 Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition survey.


Products which offer specific claims remain niche, with no packaged food category having more than 2% of SKUs with a keto, paleo or low-carb claim. However, strong growth in the penetration of keto claims, particularly in snacks and breakfast cereals between 2019 and 2020, shows food companies are becoming more interested in this space. PepsiCo, for example, invested in its incubator brand Hilo Life Chips to create keto-friendly tortilla chips, which launched in March 2021.


Labelling and regulation: A Lifestyles Survey by Euromonitor has revealed that the number of consumers who closely read the nutrition labels of food and beverages have increased from 2017 to 2021. By 2040, almost half of the global population (aged 18 years+) is expected to be overweight or obese. Governments as a result are increasingly encouraging consumers to adopt healthier diets and pay closer attention to their nutritional intake through front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels such as Nutri-Score, advertising and promotion bans under the HFFS regulation in the UK.


While FOP labels are used by 50% of food and drinks brands in France today, Nutri-Score continues to gain ground in Europe. Not only does this initiative have the support of multiple politicians, but food companies and retailers are also sharing their enthusiasm. Nestlé and Danone have been early adopters and front-runners, implementing the voluntary scheme on some of their brands in several European countries.


—Food And Nutrition Trends—

Food And Nutrition Trends

Plant-Based Eating And Alternative Proteins

Consumers are seeking more sustainable and ethical animal products and alternatives. Health concerns are also driving growth in plant-based substitutes, whilst developments in lab-grown food have the potential to reshape food production.


Meat analogues: Meat analogues have developed rapidly over recent years, with a new generation moving beyond the veggie burgers of the past. New ingredients and production methods have allowed producers to emulate the taste, texture and even the cooking experience to a greater degree than ever before. Brands such as Beyond Burger and Impossible have firmly imprinted themselves in consumers’ minds. For example, in 2021, Beyond announced they will be launching variants of its core burger product for the first time. In Asia, specifically China’s vast market potential, developments hold exciting promise.


OmniFoods’s Omnipork leads the way with its launch in over 200 Chinese retail outlets since August In November 2020, Beyond Meat announced Beyond Pork, designed for the Chinese market and inJune 2021, Tyson Foods entered the field with a new line of plant-based meat alternatives under its First Pride brand.


Dairy alternatives: In certain aspects, dairy alternatives are considerably ahead of their meat-imitating counterparts, as consumers already have a range of products they can choose from. This, combined with a growing number of consumers concerned with the dairy industry’s environmental impact and believe that dairy causes digestive or other health issues, non-dairy milk continues to increase in popularity.


Globally, soy-based alternatives make up a huge part of sales, although popularity varies by market as some consumers suspect that soy-based products are genetically engineered, making them more processed and less healthy.


Questions around product sustainability are also being raised in different categories like almond milk, which has come under strong criticism for its high use of water. Important developments in the dairy-free space are happening in cheese, including the improvement of taste and texture of products available. For example, new launches from major player, Bel, include a plant-based version of its Boursin brand and Nurishh, a Plant Based Alternative to Camembert.


Seafood substitutes: Concerns around product sustainability is driving growth in plant-based seafood. The sophistication of other seafood substitutes is also developing, a clear example being the increasing proliferation of un-breaded and uncoated products. Where substitutes are battered or breaded, that coating does some of the work in meeting consumer expectations around taste and texture.


Another sign of the segment’s development is that big seafood companies are investing more to mimic the meat market, where producers have recognised the importance of developing plant-based alternatives. This shift is a result of consumers looking for alternative ways to have protein, which may steer away from brands’ existing core products, further highlighting the need to diversify product ranges. Tuna giant, Thai Union’s creation of a venture fund, has seen it focus on three strategic areas, one of which is alternative protein.


Cell-based meat and more: While the prospect of cell-based meat (lab-grown or cultured meat) for human consumption moved beyond the realms of science fiction with the first lab-grown burger in 2013, it was December 2020 when this became a reality, when Singapore approved Eat Just’s lab-grown chicken for sale in restaurants and subsequently delivery.


Advocates have argued that producing cultured meat is an environmental and ethical good from lower water and land use without animal slaughter, and even a necessity given climate change and population growth. However, food security is driving most of the governmental interest around the world — countries relying heavily on food imports, such as Japan, are strongly encouraging development. Moreover, greenhouse gas reduction targets are driving investment, even for BRF — a meat-producing giant in Brazil where red meat is so important.


While the focus of lab-grown produce has mostly been centred around meat, start-ups around the world are looking wider. BlueNalu, for example, leads the development of lab-grown seafood and other areas by exploring ways of creating artificially made food products in dairy, fats, honey and caviar. Chicken, however, is arguably the category where cell-based production makes the most impact. As it is highly commoditised, poultry producers may find it difficult to argue for their product on the back of provenance or higher quality, something the red meat industry may be able to do better.


New protein frontiers: As plant-based alternatives have grown and developed, core ingredients have also diversified. Fermented proteins have attracted significant interest and investment over the past year, as fermentation technology is delivering a new wave of plant-based products that are high-quality and tasty.


Insect protein is also growing in popularity. As a result of cultural norms, eating insects is thought of very differently across the world — often taking the form of an ingredient in protein-enriched products outside of countries where consumers are more used to eating insects as food. Boasting better sustainability credentials than animal agriculture and impressive protein profiles, even the most traditionally resistant markets may be coming around. For example, in January 2021, following an application from French insect-farming firm Micronutris, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved the yellow mealworm for human consumption, the first insect approved.


Health halo challenge

Health is one of the key motivators for switching to meat and dairy substitutes. However, alternatives are facing ever-increasing scrutiny over their health credentials; accused of high salt or fat content and facing an animal agriculture industry that can point to consumers increasingly viewing processed as synonymous with unhealthy.


As a result, the clean label challenge has become a point of contention within the sector. Meat alternatives producer, Lightlife, has publicly accused rivals of using hyper-processed ingredients, GMOs, unnecessary additives, fillers and fake blood, highlighting its own efforts to make its entire portfolio only include straightforward, easily understandable and non-off-putting ingredients.


—Food And Nutrition Trends—

Food And Nutrition Trends



Consumers are demanding healthier food products and public bodies are focusing food policy strategies on improving the quality of the diet. Moving forward, functional foods and nutritionally balanced offerings will have increased traction. Initiatives around personalised nutrition are also set to continue developing.


In terms of plant-based alternatives, the future looks bright as the global spend on these products is set to rise and the industry is expected to continue its successful journey, extending into less developed categories, including cheese, fish and seafood alternatives. Reformulating to achieve more nutritious and clean label options is underway and developments in lab-grown food are in the spotlight.


Investments in sustainability, locally sourced inputs or promoting food security and social justice are also becoming increasingly important to move the needle with a growing conscious consumer base. In addition, e-commerce, livestreaming and social commerce are making word-of-mouth more critical than ever and manufacturers need to adjust their marketing efforts to priortise these new mediums.


Nutritionally balanced products, functional foods and plant-based alternatives will continue to be popular. Investments in sustainability, locally sourced inputs or promoting food security and social justice are also becoming increasingly important. In addition, e-commerce, livestreaming and social commerce are making word-of-mouth more critical than ever. Businesses need to adjust their marketing efforts accordingly.


View the complete article with graphs here.

Download the complete report.


The data included in this article is accurate according to Passport, Euromonitor International’s market research database at the time of publication in October 2021.



Getting It Right With Plant-Based Alternatives
Fibre — A Tasty Solution For Fat And Sugar Reduction
Digital Transformation In The F&B Industry
A Taste For Plant-based Cheese
Packaging And Processing Trends
What You Should Know About Smart Packaging
How Active And Intelligent Packaging Addresses Food Supply Shortages
Biotic Beverages
Plant-Based Frozen Desserts
Plant-Based Diet: Texture Counts For Plant-Based Success
Intralogistics: Automation & Digitalisation Solutions
Sustainable Solutions To Food Waste & Food Safety Issues