The pandemic transformed many aspects of our lives – including how and what we eat. Suddenly, in 2020, nutrition to support immunity became a priority for people worldwide, and, two years on, consumer attitudes and behaviors around food have shifted for good. From immunity to digestive health and meal behaviors, we’ve seen consumers adopt a more proactive approach to their diets – where taste, texture, and health are all top of mind.
One recently emerging trend is the prioritization of immune health through nutrition, with the uncertainty of COVID-19 leading many people to make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. Worldwide, 60% of consumers say the pandemic has made them more conscious of preventing health problems by leading a healthy lifestyle – and this isn’t a kneejerk reaction, but a long-term impact. While fewer consumers were concerned about COVID-19 in April 2022 (44%) than in April 2020 (76%), they continued to show an interest in making fundamental dietary changes: in both surveys, 73% of respondents said they plan to eat and drink more healthily.1
For 59% of consumers, better immunity means falling sick less frequently.2 At DSM, enabling this by formulating healthier products means going beyond simply removing sugar and salt: it’s about delivering a complete nutritional profile that’s still delicious. We leverage our nutritional science and advocacy to support consumers in their health journeys by providing the nutrient-rich products they’re looking for.
Research also shows a rise in consumers proactively looking to address concerns around digestive health. Our aging global society and poor dietary habits are increasing the prevalence of digestive issues, but two in three people are interested in products with digestive health benefits even if they don’t have any symptoms. Among people who made changes to their diet during the pandemic, 47% said they had increased their probiotic intake.3 We support our customers if they would like to do more to better meet the rising demand for gut health solutions like lactose- and gluten-free food and drink – both to aid consumers’ short-term comfort and to reduce their risk of long-term health problems.
A third key trend among consumers is an increasingly holistic understanding of the value of nutritious food: a healthy diet is important not just for weight loss, but for all aspects of our physical and mental health. Around the world, consumers say they’re more conscious of both mental health and sleep health since the pandemic. Consequently, they’re looking for products that help them relax and improve their emotional well-being – because they also understand that poor mental health makes us more vulnerable to physical illness.4 And the opposite is also true, which is why we work to develop food and beverage solutions that support healthier lifestyles.
With so much pressure on our time, it’s no surprise that 59% of people say they regularly replace skipped meals with a snack. This trend is driving demand for snacks that are both nutritious (for energy and satiety) and tasty (for an indulgent experience). Sports nutrition products with high protein and low sugar content are increasingly popular over traditional confectionery such as chocolate bars, and not only among athletes: 59% of consumers who changed their snacking habits between 2020 and 2021 said their main motivation was to boost their immunity.5 In this new generation of snacking, it’s key for our industry to hit the sweet spot between function and enjoyment.
Nevertheless, health-conscious consumers still face several hurdles. 33% of global consumers say they find the taste of healthy food bland and boring, while 26% say a lack of time means they often turn to convenience foods. Skepticism over health claims on labeling is also a turn-off for consumers, who want functional products they can trust to fulfil a variety of claims about active ingredients and benefits.6
The solution? Products that combine multiple health benefits – and other desirable qualities – all in one go. This gives consumers the nutritional efficiency and value they’re looking for, all delivered as part of a high-quality sensory experience. Improving nutrition to create healthier lives – it’s something we at DSM have been doing for well over 100 years. Our strong foundation in science and nutrition makes us a trusted partner both in developing innovative products to help consumers live healthier lives and in advising on competitive front-of-pack claims. With our solutions, there’s no need for consumers to compromise on taste, texture, or health (for people and planet alike) – meaning you and your consumers can enjoy it all.
DSM’s experts have developed a delicious recipe for a lactose-free fermented milk drink with Lactobacillus paracasei and vitamins A, D and E to meet above-mentioned consumers’ needs. Called #StayStrong, it’s targeted at men and women concerned about their health and who want to strengthen their immune system. It’s ideal for in-between eating moments.
Want to know more?
‘Plant boost’ is a natural energy drink that contains vitamins B, C and E, and minerals that supports healthier mind and balanced body. Perfect boost for any healthy moments of the day that’s satisfy consumer’s need for health benefits.
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16 August 2022