According to the global AI platform Tastewise’s 2024 Trends Report, consumer discussions around food and beverage for hormone health increased 118% in the last two years. Also in the top 10 fastest-growing health claims dominating social discussions in the past year are ‘women’s health’ coming in at four, ‘sex drive’ at five and fertility at 10.
In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts Podcast Lee Brymer, marketing communications manager at Tastewise, shares what is driving this increased interest in women’s health and its market potential for food and beverage players, what ingredients are most associated with women’s health and where there is opportunity for product development to better meet the needs of half the population. He also shares how consumers’ views on other health issues will influence food and beverage, including the current weight loss medication craze and the evolving discussion about sweeteners and sugar reduction.
He also shares what other food trends will gain momentum this year based on platforms six years of deep food and beverage expertise fueled in part by real-time data and AI-powered models. These include hot topics, like the emergence of guajillo as the new go-to pepper for 2024, shifts in late night snacking and how consumers are balancing indulgence and affordability.
The magic behind Tastewise’s predictions
Acutely aware of the challenges and risks associated with trying to predict the future, Brymer explains that Tastewise bases its predictions and uncovers areas ripe for innovation by looking not just at what consumers say or do, but also place those in context with social media and its own insights from Tastewise’s collection and AI engine.
Brymer explains that Tastewise looks for the why behind consumer purchases to better understand what may be an emerging trend. This includes analyzing what consumers do with food at home, including what recipes they engage with, what restaurants the visit and dishes they order and how that compares to home cooking, and then bridges those trends with conversations on social media – especially image and video driven platforms that have an outsized impact on food choices.
Consumers move beyond ‘health’ to find specific wellness claims
Based on a careful analysis of these factors, Brymer said one of the most promising trends Tastewise predicts will disrupt the food and beverage market in 2024 is around women’s health, which is representative of consumers’ increasing sophistication about the role of nutrition in health and their desire for more specific claims.
“Over the last two years, we’ve seen over a 25% decrease in consumer interest in generic health,” but “that doesn’t mean consumers are less interested in health. … It just means that saying something is healthy isn’t good enough anymore. Brands need to and products need to focus on more specific health claims in order to catch their consumers at the right moment,” Brymer explained.
Specific health claims that are gaining traction include ones focused on women’s health, including hormone health, menopause, sex drive, fertility, metabolism – all of which are up over the last two years.
Ingredients specifically associated with women’s health that are on the rise include nuts and seeds, which Brymer explains are associated with managing women’s menstrual cycles.
Demand for natural sugars rises as complement to hormonal health
Brands developing products or messaging around women’s health also should be aware of rising consumer interest in natural sugars, which Brymer says complements consumer interest in women’s health but also reaches farther.
He explained that there is a rising perception that processed sugars can disturb hormone balance and as such there is a growth in natural options such as date syrup, Manuka honey, agave and maple syrup.
Interest in weight loss drugs creates innovation opportunities
Consumer interest in managing their health through diet also will be heavily influenced in 2024 by weight loss drugs, which Tastewise predicts will open the door for product innovations that address consumers’ weight management concerns but also address their health more holistically.
Brymer explains that the potential for brands created by weight loss drugs lies in offering portion control or healthier options that will help manage satiety.
The art of having it all
As illustrated by the influence of weight loss drugs and holistic wellness on product innovation, consumers’ interest in health is no longer siloed as it once was with quote-unquote health food in one aisle and indulgent options in another. Rather, Tastewise found consumers increasingly want it all – healthy, indulgent and, in today’s difficult economic environment, affordable.
This trifecta is leading to some surprising selections, including offal, the preparation for which Tastewise found is up 28% year-over-year.
Brymer explains that offal can be used to create indulgent eating experiences at home while also offering a sustainable option that uses the whole animal and, because some of these parts are less popular, are less expensive to obtain.
Late nigh snacking shifts towards satisfying but healthy options
Interest in balancing indulgence and health is also prompting shifts in when consumers snack and what they reach for, according to Tastewise’s 2024 trends report which ound consumer interest in late night eating is up 18% year-over-year with many prioritizing foods, beverages and ingredients that won’t compromise their sleep quality or cause weight gain or other health issues.
As such, Brymer said there is a rise in products that are high in fiber and lower in sugar.
Rising flavor trends in 2024 from Asia to peppers
Consumers for years have been looking to add more spice to their food, as Brymer notes, but he adds as they try more diverse peppers and preparations they increasingly are looking for more than just heat. They also want authenticity and unique or premium experiences, which Tastewise predicts will lead to the rise in 2024 of the guajillopepper.
Tastewise also predicts a rise in flavors from South and East Asian cuisine, which Brymer notes may be newer to Western palates but are being fused with more familiar dishes and applications to encourage experimentation.
Other emerging trends that Tastewise explores in its 2024 trends report include the impact of fast-moving digital and pop culture on food, which Brymer says can be hard to keep up with in a timely and relevant fashion. But, he adds AI, and platforms like what Tastewise offers, can help speed and derisk the innovation process. To learn more about the impact of digital and pop culture’s impact on food and AI’s potential both in product development and story telling check out Tastewise’s full 2024 Trends report, which is available at tastewise.io.