Functional ingredients key to attracting busy, health-conscious consumers through holistic nutrition offerings

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Getty/Drazen Zigic
Getty/Drazen Zigic

Related tags Fortified food Fortification fortified Dairy Milk Probiotics

As shoppers seek more bang for their buck, research carried out by Fonterra’s health and wellbeing B2B brand Nutiani highlights the role of science-backed functional ingredients as a means to add value to nutrition products.

Cost remains a key consideration for consumers when evaluating nutrition products, according to Nutiani’s third Global State of Health and Wellbeing Report, based on findings from the company’s 2021 IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research and Consumer Segmentation Research, which involved 5,000 global consumers.

Of those surveyed, 86% turn to functional and fortified foods and beverages to boost their health – and so-called multifunctional benefits are the top health claim consumers would like to see on product labels. This is based on a desire to address multiple wellbeing factors all at once.

But as cost remains a barrier for many – with 38% of those polled stating they are concerned about the affordability of nutrition products – formulating products that provide multiple health benefits could prove a winning formula for manufacturers.

This can be done by integrating functional ingredients such as probiotics and phospholipids into solutions that would address multiple health concerns at once.

According to Nutiani, choosing science-backed ingredients that have no impact on flavor – with taste being a barrier for 14% of consumers – and can be added to a variety of food applications is one way to unlocking new categories of nutrition solutions.

Consumers across a wide age range can be attracted by such products – from busy professionals aged 25-44 looking for convenient holistic health solutions, to 45-70 year-olds who are proactively seeking solutions for their health management. According to the report, American consumers have an especially holistic perspective of health, with almost 9 in 10 stating that cognitive and mental health is on a par with physical health in terms of importance.

Meanwhile, consumers in Japan and China are more likely to pay close attention to the ingredient list of products or the presence of science-backed claims.

But consumer education is needed to attract younger consumer groups (aged 16-24) who tend to be less knowledgeable about the link between health and nutrition.

Charlotte Ortiz, global brand marketing manager of Nutiani, commented: “Our research supports what our customers and industry experts are saying. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of how health issues are interconnected, and how concerns in one area of their physical, mental or inner health can have a ripple on effect on their overall wellbeing.

“Supporting any health claims made about multifunctional benefits with rigorous, clinical evidence is also crucial in overcoming scepticism to build consumer confidence and establish credibility.”

According to The Insight Partners, the fortified dairy products market is expected to grow from $115bn in 2022 to $170bn by 2028 at a CAGR of 6.5%. The demand for fortified dairy products is expected to increase, owing to the rising awareness of the health benefits they provide as well as increasing concerns regarding wellbeing and fitness. 

The milk segment is expected to register the highest CAGR, with fortified milks and yogurts able to offer a holistic option to consumers to meet the recommended daily intake target of key vitamins and minerals more conveniently. 

Interested in learning more?

NutraIngredients will host its newly branded Active Nutrition Summit​ in Amsterdam from October 9-11.

An evolution of the brand's prominent annual Sports & Active Nutrition Summit, this year’s event will provide delegates with insights into the increasingly holistic and mass market view of sports nutrition, from some of the leading names in the industry.

Content pillars will cover all the hottest topics in the industry today, including: cognitive health, women’s health, life-stages nutrition, and personalisation. 

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