February 28, 2020

Food & Nutrition Trend Report: Ultra-processed Foods, TikTok, Food Retail, Mind-Body and Digestive Wellness

Food and nutrition trend alert!

In 2020, it’s all about making wellness more holistic and marketing more experiential.


The Great Debate on Ultra-processed Foods

Strawberry yogurt, fortified water, soda, frozen meals, infant formula and sliced wheat bread. What do these products have in common? According to a public health movement that’s sweeping the globe, they are all ultra-processed foods (UPF), a concept originated in Brazil in 2009 with the development of the NOVA system. Why should you care? There is clearly growing concern, scientific inquiry and regulation around UPF, but some experts point to how UPFs include a broad spectrum of foods and can support healthy choices – think fortification, nutrient-dense choices, and food accessibility – especially for under-resourced populations. [The Guardian and The Conversation]

News You Can Use: TikTok – the Next Social Frontier

If you’re not on TikTok, you will be soon. Gen Z is mixing up the social landscape with growing interest and usage of TikTok. Why should you care? TikTok market share is low but growing among Gen Z and even millennials. These short-form videos satisfy today’s brief attention spans and appetite for new forms of entertainment. The app offers brands new avenues to plus-up their connection strategy. Stay tuned – and consider ways to leverage this platform. [Business Insider]

Food Retail Gets a Level Up

Retail giant Kroger opened a new bi-level store in downtown Cincinnati with its first-ever food hall, including cuisines from Asian street fare to local BBQ. And they aren’t the only ones – other key grocery retailers are delivering beyond the expected, tapping into customers’ craving for interaction and love for food. Why should you care? Experiential marketing is driving the retail evolution by providing more personalization, integration of services and flexibility at point-of-sale to foster innovation, convenience and brand loyalty. How will our grocery shopping experience continue to evolve this year? Be on the lookout for more dine-in opportunities (e.g., food halls, pop-up restaurants, bars), touchscreen technology and interactive apps. [TotalRetail and Progressive Grocer]

The Mind-Body Connection Goes Mainstream

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally. Why should you care? The food-mood connection has made an impact on consumers. More individuals strive to practice mindful eating and share meals with loved ones, seek out functional ingredients like nootropics and ashwaganda for cognitive function and make food choices that support mental and emotional health. [World Health Organization, Euromonitor and HerbalGram]

We Have a Gut Feeling…

There is growing belief that the gut has health effects and benefits far beyond digestion, including boosts to immune, brain and cardiovascular health. Why should you care? As more and more research studies confirm connections between gut health and overall health, consumer interest grows and in-market offerings widen. Though the category was once predominately focused on providing fiber and probiotics, the market is rapidly diversifying its options. Prebiotics and functional food offerings are on the rise, and products like kefir, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are filling consumers’ grocery baskets. This is a young but rapidly growing area of wellness, and as today’s consumers become increasingly in tune with their individual health and wellness needs. Companies will need to stay abreast of the market and scientific research in order to differentiate. [SmartBrief and Nutraingredients]

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