From life stage to lifestyle, health and wellness goals are specific to each individual. When navigating wellness-supporting product choices, consumers are increasingly looking for options that support their well-being and, as such, they’re moving away from “one-size-fits-all” strategies. Vaughn DuBow, Global Director of Marketing, Microbiome Solutions at ADM, reports
This desire for personalised support comes at a time when more consumers (64% globally) are taking a proactive approach to wellness.1
Concurrently, consumers are increasingly realising that physical, emotional and mental well-being are interconnected, demonstrating a clear growth opportunity for customised functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements that provide the holistic support needed for meeting unique wellness goals.
Convenience is key
Flexibility, choice and convenience are the stepping stones to consumer-preferred “better-for-me” products. For many people, customised nutrition choices don’t just mean that they’re tailored to specific wellness support; they want easy options that are delicious and can make them feel good.
Delivering the next generation of bespoke support will depend on incorporating functional solutions and ingredients into products and ensuring that they’re both tasty and fit easily into people’s everyday routines. Novel formats that tick the boxes of both personalisation and customisation are capturing and holding consumer attention.
Moreover, accessible formats are particularly important when it comes to helping consumers to proactively support different areas of wellness — from immune function to digestive health, heart health, emotional well-being, cognitive health and more.
Typically, if a product tastes great and doesn’t require much effort to prepare, consumers are more likely to regularly consume the food, beverage or dietary supplement. This is critical for adherence, which can ultimately help people to achieve the wellness goals they’re working towards.
Take Nourished, for example. By making 3D-printed gummy stacks that are individually customised to support specific wellness targets, the company is helping to bring the possibilities of tomorrow to consumers today.
ADM is supporting this mission with gut microbiome-supporting solutions, proteins, flavours and colours that bring both functionality to these convenient gummy stacks as well as enhancing the ever-important sensory experience.
With the search for convenient and tailored nutrition products steadily on the rise, delectable chocolates, bars, shots and hard candies — in addition to gummies — with functional attributes are becoming the most preferred formats.2
Beverages are also making waves in the personalised nutrition space as they provide convenient vehicles, as well as intriguing flavour, texture and wellness support opportunities.
From sparkling waters to energy drinks, shakes and ready-to-drink (RTD) teas, beverages deliver the optionality that consumers seek, providing multiple occasions throughout the day to incorporate a beverage with hydrating properties, energy, digestive, immune function or relaxation support and more.
Microbiome in focus
The gut microbiome provides key growth opportunities for personalised products, especially as consumers continue to link their gut and digestive health with overall well-being. In fact, our ADM Outside Voice research shows that 58% of global consumers perceive a connection between the function of bacteria in the gut to wider aspects of well-being.
Beyond digestion, there is ongoing exploration into the microbiome’s connections with mood, cognition, skin health and even muscle growth.
With continued research, more microbial strains are being investigated for personalised options in the marketplace.
Further, the microbiome arena shows enduring potential, with recent market research predicting that the total business-to-business global segment, which includes prebiotic and probiotic ingredients for foods, beverages and dietary supplements, will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6% during 2022–2027.3
Additional market research shows that postbiotics are predicted to have a CAGR of 9.3% during 2021–2026.2
However, some microbiome-supporting solutions, such as probiotics, can be difficult to use in accessible and on-trend functional products, including gummies, bars, snacks and beverages; many live micro-organisms cannot survive tough processing environments such as high heat or pasteurisation.
Robust solutions such as postbiotics are the next frontier for functional offerings with tailored support, as they do not contain living micro-organisms and can withstand different production conditions.
Spore-forming probiotics are similarly robust when compared with conventional probiotics. With this optionality, postbiotics and spore-forming probiotics are helping to bring novel personalised products to the forefront.
Formulating for functionality
As more personalised support in convenient formats comes into the limelight, product developers may encounter distinct formulation challenges.
From certain solutions that are unable to retain functionality during harsh processing conditions or throughout their shelf-life to other functional ingredients impacting the sensory experience, it takes significant technical expertise and formulation knowledge of these ingredients, solutions and applications to create desirable and innovative products with highly sought-after customised wellness support.
For example, crafting beverages, bars or gummies that contain multiple functional benefits can pose formulation hurdles. Adding dietary fibre or maximising protein content, for instance, may result in off-notes and gritty textures.
Unwanted flavour notes, as well as colour, may also come from botanicals as well as certain vitamins and minerals. Balancing the levels and types of botanicals and extracts is key to building desirable offerings.
Furthermore, as different ingredients interact, issues may arise with flocculation, separation, ringing and sedimentation, specifically in multifunctional beverages. Stability and shelf-life are also important considerations when building functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Exposure to heat, water, light and oxygen can potentially degrade botanicals, vitamins and minerals.
With cutting-edge technologies and solutions coupled with formulation know-how, health and wellness brands can overcome each of these hurdles.
For example, clean-tasting and highly functional plant proteins, as well as quality botanicals, extracts and distillates provide the ideal base ingredients for exceptional personalised applications.
Taste modulation capabilities, as well as hydrocolloids and texturants, are also important tools when it comes to creating consumer-preferred tastes and textures. Plus, postbiotics and spore-forming probiotics, along with soluble dietary fibre solutions, help to ensure crucial functionality is maintained across formulation environments.
The next frontier
The functional food, beverage and dietary supplement sectors continue to evolve alongside consumer behaviour shifts. Markedly, the global functional food market is projected to grow by $285.3 billion by 2030.4
It will take collaborative industry research to reach what’s next in nutrition, supporting more scientific discoveries and technological advances. Partnering with a global supplier that puts science at the centre, in addition to providing an extensive ingredient portfolio and deep formulation expertise can help set health and wellness brands up for success and bring new personalised innovation to life.