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Tips and Trends for Wellness Watchers at IFT15

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BY: A. ELIZABETH SLOAN

No artificial ingredientsAs IFT15 food expo attendees search for new high-potential nutrition and wellness concepts and ingredients, here are six mega-trends to keep in mind.

  1. Whole Food Nutrition. Inherently healthy whole foods, close to nature ingredients, and minimal processing are now primary drivers of food selection. One-third of the best-selling new foods/drinks touted a real fruit health benefit claim and 14% highlighted a real vegetable, according to IRI’s 2014 New Product Pacesetters report. Anthocyanins, resveratrol, polyphenols, and flavanoids are the top mass market phytochemical opportunities; astaxanthin, olive extracts, and pterostilbene are among the up-and-comers.
  2. Cleaner Still. All-natural, recognizable ingredients, no artificial preservatives/ingredients, and no added sugar are the most desired clean label attributes, according to the 2013 Gallup Study of Clean Food & Beverage Labels. In 2014, 40% of adults were trying to avoid GMOs. “Made in the USA” or “Made in Canada” are moving into the spotlight.
  3. Specialty Nutritionals. Potassium, magnesium, choline, unique fibers, prebiotics, and iron are the hot nutrients for 2015 and beyond. Among those consumers who are making a strong effort to consume specialty nutritionals, probiotics, amino acids, turmeric, lutein/zeaxanthin, peptides, and whey/soy proteins enjoyed the biggest gains last year, per Gallup’s 2014 Study of Nutrient Knowledge & Consumption. Fortification is a key driver of kid-specific food sales. Fortified kids’ products are projected to top $41 billion in sales by 2018, reports Packaged Facts’ 2014 Kids’ Food & Beverage Market.
  4. Improved Performance. The $30 billion-plus sports nutrition sector has mainstreamed; six in 10 consumers use sports nutrition foods/drinks, per Nutrition Business Journal. Nutrition bar sales will top $5.7 billion by 2017; weight loss products/meal replacements will reach $4.3 billion in sales. The International Food Information Council reports that 56% of adults are trying to get more protein. Food expo exhibitors will be highlighting new protein sources, protein quality, timing of consumption, effective intake levels, and the presence of leucine. Energy, muscle, sarcopenia, and kids are hot protein markets.
  5. Alternatives. Ingredients and services that help food companies deliver free-from products will be a hot niche at the food expo. One-third of adults tried a specialty eating regimen in 2014. According to the Food Marketing Institute’s 2014 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, 8% tried gluten-free; 7%, lactose-free; and 5%, dairy-free. Eighty percent of households now eat meatless meals, and 17% of adults make some effort to be partially vegetarian, per Gallup’s nutrition study. Non-wheat ingredients; ethnic, ancient, and sprouted grains and flours; and nuts and seeds will all be in the expo spotlight. According to Beverage Industry magazine, dairy alternative drinks are the most active new beverage development category for 2015.
  6. Functional Foods. And finally, with half of the U.S. population aged 50-plus by 2019, it’s not surprising that functional food sales are projected to grow from $51 billion in 2014 to $66.8 billion by 2017, per Nutrition Business Journal.

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