Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco
Comfort might have been the trend for 2020, but it’s 2021. What are customers NOW getting pumped about? Their health and immunity. A big part of that health journey — food. According to FoodInsight.org, 85% of Americans have made a change in their eating and food preparation habits in 2020, with Candy Industry reporting 79% of global consumers are planning to eat and drink healthier. With a renewed focus on health an immunity, there’s more demand for foods that support immunity, are affordable and provide comfort, according to Food Dive. Sounds like it’s time to bulk up your healthy foods selection.
We get to the core of these renewed health cravings and provide our predictions for those items that will get their hearts pumping.
Snacking is the New Meal
Stay-at-home and work-from-home orders have really changed the meal landscape. According to a survey of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) conducted by Food Dive, 78% feel consumers are shifting away from 3 meals a day to frequent snacking. FoodInsight.org echoes this prediction, reporting that nearly 4 in 10 Americans are replacing snacks with meals.
What counts as a snack is changing too. Consumers want snacks packed with protein and whole grains, that can act as meal replacements. Since they want their food to be comforting as well as healthful, double up on snack bars full of wholesome whole grains reminiscent of grandma’s home-baked goodies like Nature’s Bakery. Tasty whole wheat fig bars are packed with simple ingredients and sun-ripened fruit — great to eat in the home office or along the return-to-work commute. There are gluten-free versions, too!
If they’re seeking a snack that packs a punch of poppable, plant-based protein, offer them Crunchsters. Puffed pieces of mung beans offer a crisp crunch in down-home inspired savory flavors like BBQ, Smokey Balsamic and Beyond bacon, all with 7g of protein per serving.
While some consumers are craving comfort, FoodInsight.org reports that 30% of American are eating healthy snacks or snacking on fruits and vegetables more often. Give them the best of both worlds with the classic snacks they love, packed full of veggies like Real Food From the Ground Up crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips, and stalks. Gluten free and made with nourishing veggies like butternut squash and cauliflower, no extra coaching is required to entice customers to open and enjoy.
Immunity-boosting Foods Get a Lift
The secret ingredient to appealing to the health and wellness crowd is just that — ingredients associated with health and wellness! Food Dive observed a growth in beverages claiming anti-inflammatory properties like green tea and beverages packed with Vitamin C, as well as fermented foods.
Vitamin C-eize the moment by making sure that your beverage selection is packed with Vitamin C beverages. But don’t just stick to the traditional orange juice. Offer them something exotically refreshing like Vitamin C-rich Ceres Papaya Juice or Ceres Medley of Fruit Juice, which features such tropical titans as guava, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, and mango, along with peach, and pear. Look for items that combine Vitamin C rich foods with other ingredients associated with wellness like ginger and echinacea like Lakewood Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice. But don’t stop there. Go beyond beverages and give your Grab & Go selection an immune and Vitamin C boost with Chimes Meyer Lemon Ginger Chews made with real ginger.
Consumers are also trying to reduce the stressors that crept up in 2020 and followed them into 2021. In fact, 51% of RDN’s identify foods that bring comfort as major sales drivers, Food Dive reports. Tea has always been known as a way to relax and unwind. But add in known soothing ingredients like chamomile, lemon balm, and mint as in Teekanne Calm & Relax Tea along with lavender like Teekanne Sleep & Dream Tea for that feeling of Zen. Customers can have their calm and immunity too when their soothing anti-oxidant rich green tea is combined with fermented Kombucha like in Yogi Green Tea Kombucha tea.
Plant-based Really Growing
In addition to their own health, consumers are concerned with the health of the environment. 59% of Americans stress the importance of the foods they consumer or purchase should be produced in a sustainable way, according to FoodInsight.org. Plant-based products are linked with sustainability, making them a top way to get into this trend. Combined with plant-based products for sustainability, they’re also looking for plant-based protein, with the majority of Americans trying at least one plant-based protein over the last year, according to FoodInsight.org.
Plant-based protein is not exclusive to the “meat” or “meatless” section. Chickpea pasta packed with protein like that from Banza has “bean” making a name for itself. For those wanting a little homemade comfort, Banza chickpea pasta mac and cheese is what they’ve “bean” looking for. Another way to dish out the plant-based protein is with side dish classic, rice. But this “rice” is made with a blend of whole grains and vegetables and packed with 10 grams of protein – RightRice. Make it even easier for them to spruce up weeknight meals with flavors like Thai curry, cilantro lime, or garlic and herb.
We’re just getting warmed up! For more foods that fit into today’s health & wellness trends