The Wellness Ingredients: Culinary Trend Mapping Report states that consumers are looking backward for these cures, beyond our recent industrial era, to times long past when healing was more organic and food-based, rooted in real foodstuffs shaped by centuries of tradition and attention to wellness. This interest in preindustrial nutritional healing is also driven by a quest for authentic products, for whole foods and for traditional food preparation methods
“American consumers are more engaged than ever in managing their health through food in hopes of curing what ails them or preventing ailments to which they are susceptible,” said Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD. “Many of these curative foods have roots in ancient times, and have been consumed by cultures around the world for centuries.”
The good news for product development is that many of these ingredients can be creatively utilized in new exciting products to add to health halos and give a nutritional boost that consumers crave. CCD profiles seven hot wellness ingredient trends using its proprietary Trend Mapping methodology:
• Healing Spices: Boasting digestive and mental health benefits, healing spices—such as holy basil and turmeric, both staples of the ancient Hindu philosophy of Ayurvedic medicine—are being incorporated into teas, nut butters and energy bars.
• Hemp: Hemp seed is the edible part of the hemp plant, and it packs quite a nutritional punch. As a great source of essential fatty acids (EFAs), it has a 3:1 ratio of omega 6 linolenic acid and omega 3 linolenic acid, both of which are known for strengthening the immune system, bettering cognitive function and promoting healthy skin, hair and eyes.
• The New (Old) Fermented Foods: Fermented foods like miso, kasu, tempeh and pu-erh tea have long been trusted in Asia for their healthful properties and may soon follow in the footsteps of successful specialty fermented products like kombucha as consumers seek out foods that are less processed and more nutrient-rich.
• Sprouted Foods: Health-focused manufacturers are sprouting wheat, rice and other grains, nuts and seeds and using them as a base for wholesome grain goods that offer more nutrition and are more digestible than similar products made without sprouted grains.
• Grass-fed Meat & Dairy: Free of artificial hormones and containing higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega 3 fatty acids, grass-fed meat & dairy possess an impressive health halo as well as an improved reputation for taste. It also feeds into consumers’ desires for more authentically good-for-you products, those our ancestors relied on.
• Agave Nectar: A syrup that can be easily added to products ranging from beverages to baked goods to sauces, agave nectar fits with consumer desires for a more healthful plant-based sweetener; its low glycemic-index is a plus as is its heritage in Mexican cuisine.
• DHA: Whether highlighting where docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) naturally occurs—like fish—or adding it to products to give them a cognitive boosting edge, this source of good fats is a boon for CPG manufacturers looking to entice consumers on the lookout for functional foods that benefit the brain.