Set the Mood with Better-for-You Foods

By Heather Mayer

Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco

Consumers are in the mood to manage their mood. One of the ways they’re doing that is through food.  40% of consumers are interested in mood-based food experiences, with 37% looking for their snacks to aid with mood according to recent surveys (Food Dive).  While the focus on functional ingredients might be new, the items they’re turning to are tried and true foods we all know.  Set the mood for success by highlighting these better-for-you products.


One of the foods most associated with mood and the brain is fish – specifically the Omega -3’s found in fish like salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, and sardines (Healthline).  They want fish, and they also want convenience. It is a big factor when making food and snack purchases today, with 51% of consumers looking for a snack that can be eaten while on the go (National Confectioners Association).  That’s why tuna with flavorful fixings like Insalatissime Tuna Salads from Italy’s Rio Mare will be quite a catch.  Premium Italian tuna in single-serve containers mixed with fresh, crisp sweet corn, carrots, peas, black olives, and lemon juice like in Rio Mare’s Insalatissme Corn & Tuna Salad or red beans, sweet corn, and red pepper in Mexican Tuna Salad take the stress out of meal prep. Looking for something a little hardier? Then add some cous cous and chickpeas to that tuna for Rio Mare’s Insalatissme Cous Cous & Tuna Salad.

Consumers are demanding food products that support sustainability (Food Dive). Reel them in with the finest wild caught, dolphin-safe yellowfin tuna from Tonnino. Whether they’re looking for classic flavors like Tuna Fillets Canned in Olive Oil or want to spice things up with Lemon & Pepper, or bold Spicy Thai  Chili, they’ll feel extra good knowing that their tuna is sustainably sourced AND low in mercury. Better for them and the environment.

If they want the benefits of fish, but tuna isn’t their thing, then Cole’s is a fin-tastic option.  They offer ready-to-eat, sustainably sourced seafood like Smoked Salmon, Applewood Smoked Petite Trout, and Wild Mackerel that taste great, offer the functional ingredients they’re seeking, and the brand is proudly eco conscious.


Tea, both herbal and regular, are a popular vehicle for a wide range of functional ingredients. That’s why tea is the perfect starting point for consumers who are new to incorporating functional ingredients into their lifestyle.

While consumers across the board are looking for functional ingredients, not everyone’s search is the same. Gen Z is looking for ingredients for mood and brain function (FoodNavigator – USA).  So, teas that call attention to their soothing benefits directly in the name like Yogi Tea Relaxed Mind, a blend of  helichrysum, sage, lavender, and shankhpushpi, or Yogi Tea Breathe Deep, with thyme, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and cardamom will be their cup of tea.  Also teas featuring antioxidant rich honeybush found in Twinings African Honeybush Mandarin Orange Tea make beau-TEA-ful additions.  

Green tea is known for its mood and brain function properties. Green tea on its own can be a little bitter for new tea drinkers.  So inject some flavor excitement with the taste of the tropical fruits from Mighty Leaf Tropical Green Tea, honeydew from Stash Sweet Honeydew, or ginger like Tazo Green Ginger.

While Gen Z is looking for a sense of calm, Millennials are focused on foods that impact their happiness, (FoodNavigator-USA). Teas that boast about their positive-TEA like Yogi Tea Spicy Hibiscus Blossom Positive Energy, and Yogi Tea Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy are a must.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts are already seen as a better-for-you snack, but a recent Innova Survey found that consumers associate nuts with energy and mental focus (Food Dive). Since nuts and seeds can lean towards sweet or savory flavors, there are many ways to appeal to those health nuts looking for nut and seed products.

Savory snackers looking for an extra burst of protein? Sahale Bean + Nut Mixes are what they’ve “bean” waiting for.  A blend of nuts, seeds, fava beans, and chickpeas in flavors ranging from classic Sea Salt, and White Cheddar & Black Pepper, to exotic Creole create a flavorful and texture-rich snacking experience.  

A classic snack updated for today’s latest functional ingredient trends like Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Crackers is crumb-believable.  Baked crackers with a blend of whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, and poppy seeds offer a crisp crunch. But what will really get Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Crackers growing on them are trending flavors like Classic, Everything, and for those who want something a little bolder, Jalapeno.

While consumers are looking for food ingredients to impact mood and brain function, they’re still looking for little everyday indulgences too, with 64% of consumers saying they indulge while snacking.  Offer them the best of both worlds with nut and seed mixes with a little touch of sweet like Nassau Candy Sweet Sea Salt Sensation Mix, full of dark chocolate sea salt almonds, roasted salted cashews, raw pecan halves, dried cranberries and golden raisins. Those who want an extra crunch will be singing the praises of Nassau Candy’s Jazz It Up Mix, with its blend of chocolate covered raisins, honey roasted peanuts, honey roasted sesame sticks, dried cranberries, and white chocolatey chips. If they’re looking for vacation calm, then offer them the flavor of the tropics with Nassau Candy’s California Aloha Mix, full of walnuts, chopped dates, diced pineapple, raw cashews, raw pepitas, coconut chips, papaya, apricots, raisins, and banana chips.

For those with nut sensitivities who are looking to get the nutrients seeds provide, add Blake’s Seeds bars to your selection. Each bar is filled to the brim with functional seeds like pumpkin, flax and sunflower, and offers indulgent flavors like S’mores, Raspberry, and Blueberry Lemon.


Along with an increased focus on functional ingredients, how consumers are snacking has changed too. 64% are opting to eat many small meals a day over major mealtimes (Bake), so make sure you have functional snacks for morning, noon, and night.  A snacking ingredient that can make the snacking transition throughout the day — oats.   

Since they’re looking for small bites, portability and convenience are key.  We like Berg Mighty Bites.  Though Mighty Bites might look like a cookie, and offer up indulgent flavors like Almond Butter Banana Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, they are full of functional ingredients like gluten free oats, and pea protein. A perfect way to start the day

Gluten free continues to be popular too, so gluten free breakfast biscuits like Narin’s will go fast.  Each biscuit is made with wholesome oats and other ingredients to provide a power boost, while fun flavors like Chocolate & Coconut, Blueberry & Raspberry, and Apple & Cinnamon will instantly make them a morning person.

Morning isn’t the only time consumers can get their fill of functional oats. Oats transform into anytime enjoyment when they’re baked in a cracker like Bob’s Red Mill Oat Crackers. Made with oats, quinoa, almonds, and flaxseeds, Bob’s Red Mill Oat Crackers are gluten-free, really thin, and perfect for snacking on by the handful, dunking in dips, or pairing with cheese.  Flavors like Jalapeno and Rosemary keep things exciting.  

If they’re looking for a blank canvas to pile on other functional ingredients, recommend Wasa Multigrain Crispbread because it offers a delightful crisp crunch that holds up to any topping. Wasa Crispbread is packed with wholesome ingredients like rye, wheat, oats, and barley, it’s not surprising that the Swedish crisp cracker has been a customer favorite since 1919.

Consumers are looking for more from their foods. Foods need to offer great flavors, and align with customers’ health goals. 

We add “FUN” to your functional foods

“This article and its contents is intended for marketing purposes only and not intended to imply any advice in regards to Medical Treatments, Healthy Alternatives or Any Condition Whatsoever. Any change to diet should be reviewed with a licensed medical professional.”

%d bloggers like this: