There is an ongoing movement among today’s consumers to put a greater priority on their cognitive and emotional well-being, reports Hélène Moeller, Vice President, Global Product Marketing Flavors at ADM. Markedly, the concept of balanced wellness has been identified as a major global trend that’s set to drive nutrition innovation in the coming year(1)
Globally, 79% of consumers believe that supporting their mental health has a positive effect on their overall health and wellness.2 With that, consumers are proactively seeking out functional solutions that can support both ends of the spectrum within the mood and cognitive space: relaxation and energy.
Notably, mood and emotion play an integral role in consumer shopping behaviours, particularly when considering the sensorial aspects that affect purchasing decisions. Increased attention on mood-supporting offerings is greatly influencing the current and emerging trends in flavours and colours that are most likely to capture health-conscious consumers’ attentions.
The coming year is set to bring a flourish of flavours and colours that relates to consumer desires to lean into what energises them, as well as what may provide respite and support overall well-being.3
Resetting with rest and relaxation
Current world events have heightened consumer concern in many areas, including personal health, the economy and the environment. Research finds that 47% of global consumers believe a top barrier to healthy living lies in the difficulty of finding time to relax.4
These stressors are prompting consumers to find ways to reset themselves and find moments of calm and rest in the new year. In fact, 32% of global consumers plan to make improvements to their sleep habits or health during the next twelve months.5
As consumers find themselves gravitating towards gummies and ready-to-drink (RTD) teas to unwind, they’re connecting these products with specific colours and flavours that help shift their moods.
Rising to the top as both a trending colour and flavour is lavender, which is associated with mental clarity and relaxation. Shoppers scanning store aisles for supplements that support sleep are leaning towards the soothing hue and flavour notes of floral lavender.
Also presenting in this space are combinations of lavender with bright lemon balm and mellow vanilla. Subdued tones pair well here, providing consumers with a sense of contentment.
Boosting energy and mood
Whether following physical activity or used as an afternoon pick-me-up, more consumers are proactively seeking out functional beverages and snacks that provide an energy and mood boost. Plus, energy is in the top three areas of wellness that consumers would like to improve during the next 12 months, just behind mental well-being and immune function.4
This heightened focus on energy may in part be derived from the growing active nutrition arena, which is expanding to welcome consumers from different lifestyles and life stages. Research shows that 53% of the global population are classified as active nutrition consumers.6
Consumers are also interested in convenient applications that can provide much-needed energy support at a moment’s notice. Thus, consumers are increasingly drawn to invigorating colours and flavours that lend well to a quick mood boost.
The year 2023 is set to bring a swath of saturated shades and bold flavour profiles, enlivening the functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements landscape. Globally, 56% of consumers say they would like what they consume to have bright and intense colours.7
Specifically, deep/bright pink is back in full force, bringing verve and vibrancy to energy drinks, gummies and bars. This is also right in line with Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023: Viva Magenta. Pantone notes that this colour “vibrates with vim and vigour.”
Shades such as magenta have the potential to captivate consumers across categories.
Pumping up the volume alongside attention-grabbing pinks, oranges and blues are complementary flavours of fruit punch, dragon fruit and blue raspberry for functional waters and energy drinks, as well as Sichuan peppercorn and tomato masala in formats such as functional snacks.
Balancing mind and body
Progressively seen as intertwined concepts, consumers are linking their emotional, mental and physical well-being together. As such, they’re actively seeking functional offerings that can provide tailored and balanced support for their holistic wellness goals.
Globally, 63% of consumers say they are interested in products that are customised to meet their individual nutritional needs.8 As consumers curate their everyday wellness routines, accessible nutritional offerings with exciting sensorial experiences are rising to the top.
Zingy citrus notes continue to trend in the wellness space for associated feelings of optimism, as well as citrus’ connection to products that may provide various aspects of wellness support.
Interestingly, orange is the top flavour global that consumers associate with products that have healthful attributes.5
On top of that, citrus remains the most classic flavour profile, accounting for nearly 30% of new product launches.9
Ripe with opportunity, health and wellness brands can capitalise on tried-and-true citrus notes such as orange, lemon and lime, along with emerging varietals including tangelo, finger lime and yuzu.
Pairing these notes with bright oranges, greens and yellows in functional sparkling drinks, stickpacks, chewables and gummies can help to grab the attention of health-conscious shoppers with their vibrancy and flavour, along with associated feelings of positivity and wellness.
The sensory experience is a crucial aspect of any functional food, beverage or supplement, and it must not be overlooked during product development.
Brands that partner with a global supplier with cutting-edge capabilities across flavour and colour solutions derived from natural sources, as well as an expansive health and wellness portfolio that can support consumers goals, are set to captivate shoppers and encourage purchase retention.