Global Functional Food Trends, Natural vs. Fortified?


Not long ago, Mascaraque María, senior food and nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International (Euromonitor International), pointed out that consumers' preferential consumption choices for natural foods and beverages have made an important contribution to the overall health industry. Consumers are looking for unprocessed or lightly processed products that meet the clean label trend, and they are increasingly demanding plant-based proteins from natural foods, grains, green tea, nuts and melon seeds, as well as natural ingredients with special health functions. In addition, plant-derived raw materials and algae such as spirulina are also popular among consumers because they are environmentally friendly and are considered to be more nutritious for health.
 
This trend is evident on a global scale. Natural health (NH) and organic products are sufficient to compete with better for you(BFY) products and enhanced/functional (FF) products, whether in mature markets or emerging markets. This indicates that consumers' purchasing choices are beginning to shift from artificially fortified foods and beverages, foods with less salt, less sugar and reduced fat, to naturally nutritious foods.
 
Although emerging food markets are catching up with developed countries, there is still a big gap at the national level. For example, in India, the development of new products in the food sector is very active, but it still lags far behind developed countries. You must know that India's BFY products have grown significantly, reaching US $2 billion according to Euromonitor International's assessment. At the same time, China and Brazil are following natural nutrition trends and are actively aligning with developed countries.
 
As a country with a population of more than 90 million and a fast-growing economy, the trend of natural health products in Vietnam is also significant.
 
1 Development of functional food
 
When developing functional foods, it is important to be clear about global trends, as this will determine the success of the product in the end market. For example, in the field of conventional snacks, the market has an increasing demand for naturally nutritious foods, and it is beginning to shift from traditional to commercial, such as chocolate, cookies and potato chips to healthier foods, such as dairy products, fortified protein foods, probiotic foods, oatmeal and foods containing nuts, and ancient crops. These products tend to be gluten-free or rich in vitamins and minerals.
 
Manufacturers are very focused on the future development of their products, not only by adding ingredients with special functions, but also by improving the processing methods of frying and baking, such as air drying or other healthier processing methods, which also helps to maintain the nutritional characteristics of functional raw materials. Even in the process of frying, manufacturers prefer to use olive oil. People who know the Mediterranean diet know that olive oil is beneficial to cardiovascular health and can give consumers a more natural and healthy feeling.
 
In addition, there is growing interest in snacks with vegetables as the core ingredient (such as beetroot, butternut squash and spinach chips), as well as snacks made from nuts, melon seeds and beans. These ingredients are also used in meat snacks and dairy products, following global market trends.
 
Adding superfoods to food is also an important trend, such as black plums, moringa, goji berries, turmeric, maca and medicinal mushrooms such as birch are good examples. In addition, products that include organic ingredients make consumers feel healthier.
 
In addition, the trend of holistic and alternative therapies based on vegetarianism and prehistoric diets (fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood and fruits eaten by human ancestors), raw or minimally processed foods are also of great concern to food manufacturers.
 
The story behind the product should not be ignored. Authentic food and drink tell its origin and tradition, including handmade, fresh materials, and every detail from farm to table may be big news to the outside world.
 
All of these trends fit into the concept of the mindful eating, one of the latest shifts in consumers' concept of dieting. The Awakening Diet is about experiencing food more mentally focused, an approach that requires attention to all the smells, tastes and sensations that the food produces during eating.
 
2 The strengthening/functional trend continues
 
Although new product development for functional/fortified foods has slowed, such foods are popular. Especially in emerging markets, the performance is stronger, and more and more consumers are looking for products with functional ingredients, such as probiotics, Omga-3s or vitamins, to supplement the nutritional deficiencies in their daily diet or improve their health. Developed countries continue to innovate in this area, mainly around proteins and plant-based ingredients, as well as specific food categories, such as fortified/functional formula, where nutritional science is key.
 
Although sales of natural health products have surpassed sales of functional/fortified foods as early as 2015, the absolute growth rate of the latter is still the fastest at the global level, mainly due to the growing consumer demand for functional ingredients related to health positioning.
 
Protein is still one of the most popular food ingredients and shows no signs of slowing down in the short term; the increasing demand for protein-rich snacks, flavored milk drinks and other protein-based products is a good example. For example, an enhanced/functional ice cream launched in the UK is high in protein and low in sugar. It follows the trend of "healthy indulgence", which means indulging in delicious food without harming your health. The product also uses appetite suppression as a selling point, which makes it gain a lot of praise in the market.
 
As mentioned earlier, developed countries are turning to products that are naturally rich in these functional ingredients, while fortified/functional foods are mainly driven by emerging markets. For example, China is far ahead of other developing countries. Most of the sales of functional foods come from formula milk powder. In 2016, the sales of such products reached US $18 billion.
 
Fortified/functional formula is an important product category that has achieved strong growth even on a global scale. Among them, Omega-3 is the most important fortified ingredient. It is the most widely used ingredient on the global formula label. It is closely related to the visual health, brain health and memory function of infants and young children.
 
3 Natural Functional Foods-New Trends
 
Consumer demand for natural products has promoted the rapid development of such products. Euromonitor International survey data shows that the global market for natural products has reached US $249 billion, and it is estimated that it will also belong to the fastest growing category of products in the future. The absolute growth in 2016 - 2021 is expected to reach US $42 billion, which is still above the fortified/functional food.
 
Bottled water in the natural health sector is in high demand and is the largest category in the sector, with a market size of $61 billion in 2016; in particular, bottled water with natural minerals is expected to grow by 42% in 2016-2021.
 
In addition, more and more consumers prefer protein, mineral or vitamin products of plant origin rather than artificially fortified foods. For example, ancient crops such as quinoa and chia seeds are key ingredients in this trend. At the same time, delicious snacks based on vegetables are becoming more and more popular, and the main audience of such products is millennials (people born in 1984-2000).
 
Finally, food manufacturers need to respond to the needs of consumers and develop products that have specific functions and can be regarded as fresh and healthy by consumers. In this way, manufacturers will be able to encourage consumers to consciously eat and, in turn, consume more of their supply.
 
[Exhibition Information Recommendation Details]]
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Exhibition introduction:
The "China Health and Nutrition Expo" (NHNE), sponsored by Sinopharm Reed Exhibition, is the largest professional exhibition of health nutrition and health products in China. Through two exhibitions a year (spring Shanghai, autumn tour), it has gathered tens of thousands of state-approved honest suppliers of blue hat health food and many new products and international health products, providing excellent brand promotion and product channel expansion services for domestic and foreign enterprises.
 
The 8th China Health and Nutrition Expo will be held on December 4-6, 2018 at the China Import and Export Fair Exhibition Hall (Guangzhou). The exhibition area is expected to exceed 40,000 square meters, bringing together 1000 product suppliers and professional service providers in the field of health and nutrition, as well as 100000 honest distributors, agents and terminal purchasers. It has become the best platform for merchants to find new products, exchange and learn, and master market information.
 
On December 4-6, 2018, multi brands gathered, Guangzhou held the 18th China International Health Expo and 2018 China (Guangzhou) Health Festival, the 8th China Health and Nutrition Expo, 2018 China Health and Nutrition raw materials/packaging/equipment Exhibition, International Natural Food and Beverage Expo.
 
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