Insights Trends

What Consumers Want: Functional Foods

The world is reeling under a pandemic that is bringing feelings of anxiety and uncertainty to the forefront. Turmeric, probiotics, and Ashwagandha have become the new kids on the functional ingredients block during these unnerving times.

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They are not only seeking out products that contain functional ingredients such as the ones above but also products in snacks, beverages and even ice-creams that will help to keep their health and immunity in check. Consumers are turning to brands that they associate with trust, safety, and health in 2020 and beyond.

Functional foods mostly contain antioxidants which promote overall health and well being. Many foods are also ‘immune boosters’, particularly those containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and red bell peppers, and those with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger. 

An example of a ginger-based cereal is Happy Healthy Overnight Oats with banana and ginger.


When it comes to functional beverages, US plant-based functional beverage producer Rebbl recently released a line of super herb elixirs packed with four varieties of medicinal mushrooms that are rich in antioxidants and work together to provide strong immunity-boosting abilities and defense. 

There has also been a rise in products with energy benefits made from natural energy-boosting ingredients, catered towards the health-conscious consumer. For example, DRGN launched a turmeric-infused soft drink that contains a range of vitamins, electrolytes, and amino acids to reduce fatigue and aid hydration. 

Even in the ice-cream and frozen yogurt segment, there has been an uptick in functional ingredients and better-for-you (BFY) ice cream varieties since the beginning of this year that allow customers to indulge guilt-free. Consumers have also been binging on functional frozen yogurt offerings featuring probiotics, or functional ice creams that provide energy through essential vitamins or act as a sleep aid. 

Functional ingredients have been infused in chewing gums as well. Bubble Calm, launched by two college students in Oklahoma is said to promote relaxation during this turbulent time and has ingredients such as valerian root and chamomile.

Some products that include functional ingredients such as turmeric and Ashwagandha are Turmeric Lentil Wunder Nuggets and Santosha chocolate bar.


The mammoth behavioral change when it comes to healthy diets and foods that will boost our immune system will stay long after the pandemic, driving the demand for such products, enabling CPG brands to innovate in functional ingredients and products that are high in vitamins and minerals.

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