Vitamins on plate with fork and knife to represent functional food and beverage


Health and wellness are at the forefront of consumers’ minds as the pandemic continues to linger. Functional food and beverage are the latest development in health and wellness as individuals try to stay healthy. The Hartman Group’s research found that at least half of adult consumers claim to use functional food (58%) or beverage (56%) solutions to treat or prevent a specific condition, including general prevention efforts. According to New Hope Network, functional food and beverage sales increased 9.4% and reached $78 billion last year. Healthy snacks, beverages, and sweet treats are incorporating functional ingredients to meet consumer demand for functional food and beverage.

Healthy Snack Attack

Snacking has been trending before the pandemic and has spiked during the pandemic. The demand for better-for-you snacks with functional benefits is on the rise. According to Grand View Research, the global healthy snacks market is expected to reach $32.88 billion by 2025 with a 5.2% CAGR. IQBARs are protein bars formulated with six brain nutrients and 12 g of plant protein. The functional bars are Keto, Paleo-friendly, vegan, kosher, and free-from GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar alcohols. Nature’s Garden Fruit Balls Immune Booster is “an innovative way to boost one’s immune system with vital minerals, vitamins, and probiotics.” The snack is formulated with elderberry extract, date paste, pear puree, strawberry puree, apple juice, walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sunflower kernels, blueberries, cranberries, and flax seeds that are rolled into a ball surrounded with coconut flakes. Ocean Spray debuted Ocean Spray Fruit Medley, a new line of dried fruit snacks with functional benefits. The Fiber Blend contains craisins, dried apples, and dried nectarines while the Immunity Blend features a blend of dried fruits including cranberries, mangos, pineapple, and banana chips. The Probiotic Blend highlights craisins with dried blueberries, dried cherries, and raisins and contains 1 billion CFU of probiotics per serving.

Drink To Your Health

Functional beverages have been on the market for years with energy drinks being the pioneers. However, energy drinks are not known for their health benefits because of their high sugar and caffeine content. The latest activity in functional beverages are drinks that contain functional ingredients that provide specific benefits such as immune support, cognitive function, relaxation, and gut health. Elements is a line of four adaptogen drinks in Calm (Vanilla Apple Cider), Focus (Blueberry Lemon), Sleep (Cherry Vanilla Almond), and Vitality (Ginger Orange) variants. Cloud Water released the Cloud Water + Immunity line in three flavors: Blackberry & Lemon & Rosemary, Blood Orange & Coconut, and Grapefruit & Mint & Basil. Wtrmln Wtr extended its range with new functional blends including Antioxidant (Strawberry), Hydration (Watermelon Blend), Immunity (Ginger), and Recovery (Tart Cherry) beverages. Rebellious Infusions recently launched Pure Energy Infusions, a new premium functional beverage range made to “increase a sense of alertness and enhance focus.” Courageous (Cherry), Marvelous (Mango), and Tenacious (Tangerine) are the varieties.

Perennial, is a new plant-based drink designed for consumers ages 50 plus to “deliver gut and brain health benefits.” It is offered in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors and is formulated with DHA omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibers, and sunflower oil. Picnik added Vanilla Oatmilk Adaptogen Creamer with Collagen to its portfolio. The creamer features 1500 mg of Picnik adaptogen blend, vanilla oatmilk, and grass-fed collagen “to promote satiation, relaxation, and mental clarity.”

Sweet On Health

Functional ingredients are not strictly reserved for healthy snacks and beverages. Sweet treats such as gelato, baking mixes, and chocolate are recent segments to join the functional food and beverage market. Sacred Serve is a plant-based gelato made from Young coconut meat and contains “beneficial ingredients” such as Chaga Mushroom, Maca, Matcha Green Tea, Peppermint Essential Oil, Rosewater, and Saffron. The gelato is available in five flavors: Chaga Chocolate, Coconut Salted Caramel, Matcha Mint Chip, Saffron Chai Spice, and Tigernut Cookies N Creme. You Again is a new line of functional, customizable cookie mixes, which were inspired by Ayurvedic principles. The Mint Chocolate mix “is designed to promote performance” and contains Cacao, Spirulina, and Cordyceps while the Chocolate Chip mix is “for calm & relaxation” with Ashwagandha, Reishi, and Holy Basil. The Oat Ginger Raisin “supports mood and focus” and features Maca, Lion’s Mane, and Chaga Mushroom. Functional Chocolate Co. offers a line of chocolates marketed to women and designed to address common health concerns such as cramps and hot flashes. The bars are available in Rhythm Chocolate for PMS (Ginger Snap), Carefree Chocolate for stress and anxiety (Mellow Mint Truffle), Hot Chocolate for menopause symptoms (Vanilla Creme Brulee), and Sexy Chocolate for low libido (Champagne and Berry) varieties.

Health and wellness is a key consumer concern. Expect to see innovative functional food and beverage launches across market segments including beverages, snacks, and sweet goods.

Looking for more functional ingredient trends? Let Trendincite LLC custom-design a functional marketing presentation, a beneficial blog post, or a stress-free webinar with Amy Marks-McGee as a guest speaker.

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