health and wellness 2020

7 trends influencing the evolution of health, wellness and consumers' views of food

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags: Nutrition

Americans’ evolving definition of health and wellness from treatment to prevention is dramatically impacting how they view food – with many people looking to the ancient past for guidance on how and what to eat in the future.

“Wellness practices like Chinese medicine and yoga have been around forever, but have increased in popularity in the modern wellness lifestyle”​ and are starting to influence the American diet, said Carl Jorgensen, director of global consumer strategy of wellness at Daymon Worldwide, a company focused on brand building, sourcing and retail driven services.

He explained that he is seeing more interest in using tried and true traditional Chinese and ayurvedic herbs as ingredients in food and beverages. For example, he noted, Ashwagandha – an herb that comes from the same family as the tomato and purports to have rejuvenating properties that can ease stress and improve concentration – is finding its way into more products, such as Sherpa Power ready-to-drink tea from a California based startup.

The boom in probiotic-packed fermented foods and beverages, which is just beginning, also draws from “ancient wisdom” ​in Asian cultures that pairs these foods with digestive and overall health benefits, he said.

Likewise, the emerging focus on ancient grains is based on the idea that many of the grains used in food processing today, particularly wheat and corn, have been bred to “barely resemble their ancestors cultivated and eaten by mankind a millennia ago,”​ Jorgensen said. “They were bred to develop characteristics that made them easier to process or bake or grow and not so much for their nutritional properties. But now, going back to the original cultivars of these grains”​ consumers can access all the nutrition, fiber and micronutrients our ancestors consumed.

In particular, he sees a strong future for millet at the crossroads of health and wellness and food in the future.

“One of the really big grains will be millet, which is this tiny bead of a grain and relatively tasteless, but which has a lot of protein and fiber,”​ and is drought- and insect-resistant so is easy to grow in the face of food insecurity, Jorgensen explained.

Six other trends influencing health and wellness

He predicts, other influential trends that will influence health, wellness and food and beverage in the future are:

An “accent on the positive”​ – “It used to be everyone wanted to see that there was no MSG or no artificial colors or no artificial flavors or too much fat, sugar or sodium. But now that is the baseline, and what really counts with consumers are the positive attributes of the food,”​ Jorgensen said. He explained these attributes include nutrient density, special ingredients, Fair Trade, whether animals were humanely treated or the environmental impact on food. In the future, Americans will think not just about their own health and wellness but of that of others and the planet.

Food and wellness communities​CSAs, community gardens and fitness groups are helping people better understand where food comes, how to prepare it and how it impacts their bodies, Jorgensen said. These communities also are driving the current demand for fresh, local and artisanal foods. Going forward he sees opportunities for food manufacturers and retailers to partner with local fitness groups and farmers to bring branded products to consumers. These also are good retail channels for small, new brands to gain footing because of the focus on community values within these groups, he said.

Clean labels – “Clean”​ ingredient decks will continue to be influential in how healthy consumers perceive products, Jorgensen said. “Part of this trend is dejunking. So reformulating a product that wasn’t clean before and reengineering it to get rid of artificial flavors and colors, reducing the salt and sugar content significantly while still having the product deliver the same or better experience than before.”​ He acknowledged that this is a “huge challenge”​ for the industry, but he said he is “really encouraged and impressed by how well food manufacturers are accelerating the clean label trend and innovating.”

Digestive health –​While not new, Jorgensen predicts digestive health will remain a “purchase driver globally,”​ especially as consumers better understand the role of digestion in their overall health and how probiotics, fermented beverages and cultured foods can aid them. “You are going to see so much more innovation around products for digestive health in the future.”

Plant based proteins – ​Again, consumers’ perception of health and wellness is expanding beyond themselves to include the environment, and they increasingly are understanding that plant based proteins are just as healthful to them and more sustainable to the earth than animal proteins, Jorgensen said.

Health tracking wearables – ​As wearable health technology evolves beyond just counting steps and calories burned, it will play a pivotal role in creating customized diets and activity regimens that will contribute to preventive health, Jorgensen said. He also noted that apps that can track moods also could help consumers in the future better understand how food impacts their emotions and mental state.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Deliver wholesome products with sustainable ingredients.

Deliver wholesome products with sustainable ingredients.

ADM advances regenerative agriculture | 24-Jun-2022 | Infographic

Learn how the plant-based movement continues to inspire an evolution in consumer eating habits, and how ADM’s NutriStem™ ingredients with their vertically...

Sustainable solutions from farm to finished product.

Sustainable solutions from farm to finished product.

ADM advances regenerative agriculture | 24-Jun-2022 | Insight Guide

Consumers view sustainability more holistically than ever and see it as a moral imperative for companies to take action to protect environmental and social...

Your roadmap to carbon neutral flour has arrived.

Your roadmap to carbon neutral flour has arrived.

ADM advances regenerative agriculture | 24-Jun-2022 | Product Presentation

ADM's net carbon neutral milling network and regenerative agriculture projects help lower your supply chain emissions on flour sourcing. Download...

Vanilla, the sustainable taste of home.

Vanilla, the sustainable taste of home.

ADM advances regenerative agriculture | 24-Jun-2022 | Infographic

Explore how ADM’s responsible global sourcing and formulation know-how is used to develop world-class tasting and sustainable vanilla solutions for deliciousness...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars