Ongoing trends in the food industry

Wellness trends take an inside-out approach as people continue to look to functional foods and environmental footprints of products.

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Trending in the marketplace are foods with functional ingredients that provide an extra health benefit to the consumer beyond basic nutrition, according to a research report produced by the South Australian Food Innovation Centre. In July 2022, Biomega reported that 33% of consumers frequently turn to food and beverage products that have functional ingredients to meet their health related needs. In the article “Functional Foods, A Rising Trend,” gut health and relaxation were two examples of how functional ingredients help address consumer needs.

Additionally, this trend seems to be propelling ingredients such as collagen, which has been suggested as an ingredient which promotes skin, hair, and nail health, to the forefront. Given this information, it seems that more and more, consumers are taking an inside-out approach when it comes to beauty as they recognize the “close relationship between wellness and beauty,” reports Saloni Walimbe in the article, “Key benefits highlighting the significance of collagen in evolving health & wellness ecosystem” for Global Market Insights.

Functionality isn’t just for humans, though. “Functional pampering” in the pet industry is catching on with toppers and mixers that use ingredients to benefit our pet’s skin, bone, joint and digestive health, according to Biomega. In a pet treat infographic, Tim Wall and Jennifer Keller for Biomega found that consumers sales were higher for products which addressed canine joint mobility and feline brain health.

Manufacturers beware: there is a regulatory side to all of this. Before including functionality information, make sure you look into the regulations and how they apply to your product. Simply put, claims affect regulation. Functionality claims on a package and website are all considered claims. To remain regulated as a food and not a supplement or medicine, basically NO claims can be made. Furthermore, the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Product Center recommends the added ingredient be reviewed by your regulator. For more information, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code definitions and fact sheets:

For more information on petfood and treats, see this FDA page.

In addition to consumers being interested in the functionality of a product, they are also becoming more interested in the environmental footprint of a product, as reported by Honorata Jarocka in an article for Mintel. This growing interest in acknowledging the “cradle to gate lifecycle of a product,” as Biomega describes it, starts with the acquisition of initial raw ingredients and materials, continues through the manufacturing and packaging of a product, and ends with its post-use disposal. Furthermore, Biomega contends a “clean label” now goes beyond ingredients to reflect the overall environmental impact of a product during its life cycle.

The MSU Extension Product Center provides business counseling and helps entrepreneurs launch new food products. One specialized service provided is the development of Nutrition Facts labels. Food businesses may contact the Product Center for assistance with labeling.

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