While functional foods continue to increase in popularity, a report issued by the Hartman group predicts that consumers will shy away from ‘overly medicalized’ foods.
While functional foods continue to increase in popularity, a report issued by the Hartman Group, a market research group based in Bellevue, Wash., predicts that consumers will shy away from “overly medicalized” foods, instead seeking out “more playful, aspirational benefits” in food.
“Our research suggests consumers are beginning to approach nutrition in critically different ways than in past epochs,” the report says.
This bodes well for the bakeries that choose to capitalize on the wholesome, clean-label side of baking instead of the supplement- or vitamin-added versions. Consumers are seeking out heartier vehicles for health and wellness.
A growing difference is perceived between a naturally nourishing diet and a synthetically nutritive one. People who have spent the last 20 years experimenting with miracle diets or vitamin supplements now are turning to products that appeal to more traditional ideas of healthfulness. Instead of eliminating some dietary elements or focusing exclusively on others, consumers are looking more toward the benefits of balanced diets over time.
“The single most consistent trend occurring at the intersection of health, wellness and food is the redefinition of quality,” the report asserts. “Consumers are gradually transitioning away from ascetic, ‘medicalized’ eating styles, quick fix diets or supplements and so-called ‘better for you’ packaged foods and are practicing more mindful eating styles via engaging, higher-quality experiences.”
The turn away from “medicalized” foods doesn't preclude functional foods, which continue to grow. Consumers have long been trained to seek out fortified foods because of a strong belief in the virtue of getting all available nutrients. But as people increasingly incorporate food choices into their overall philosophy, chemical-sounding inclusions and appeals to clinical dietary choices are becoming less effective.
Examples of the trend include the recent popularity of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Instead of turning to “medicalized” ways of consuming the nutrients, people are looking to foods naturally rich in them, such as superfruits or flax bread.
Hartman compiled its data, along with Tinderbox analysts, throughout 2008 via in-store shopping ethnographies, in-home pantry audits and other methods.