The mood food movement: Meeting consumer motivations


Turbulent times, busy lifestyles, and the demands of day-to-day life are creating a stressed global consumer population. Holistic wellbeing, including mental health, is more important than ever, and consumers are turning to food as an accessible way to proactively take control of their own mental health and wellbeing.

Consumers say that they are highly interested in mood-based food and beverage experiences, with more than 40% stating that they are “very interested” or “extremely interested,” and survey data from Innova Market Insights shows there is an array of sought-after mood-related needs. In Innova’s 2019 Consumer Survey1, over half of global consumers said they seek products that are good for their body and give them energy, while one-third wanted foods and beverages that make them happy.

The relationship between mood and food is so strong that Mood: The Next Occasion was one of the featured trends in Innova Market Insights’ Top 10 Trends for 2021, indicating abundant opportunities for manufacturers. Innova has seen continued interest in various aspects of mental well-being. Consumers want products that make them feel good, improve their moods, and optimize sleep and mental focus. One in five global consumers expressed willingness to pay more for food and beverages containing functional ingredients that “boost mental health.1

In 2020, Innova questioned consumers from 10 countries about their level of interest in several different mental health functions. At least two-thirds of consumers globally are somewhat or very interested in feeling calm and relaxed, energized, balanced, or happy. In the Innova Flavor Survey 2021, consumers most often associated nuts with energy and mental focus, but approximately one in eight consumers choose nuts to feel stimulated, comforted, indulgent, or relaxed.

Almonds in the Mood Market

Global food and beverage launches with mood-related claims and almond ingredients show a compound annual growth rate of 45%2, and mental functions are a key driver of innovation for products with almond ingredients. Almonds are a nutrient-rich food delivering their own functional benefits, but they also ease product development by offering unparalleled taste, texture, and ingredient versatility.

New product launches are highlighting almonds as a functional ingredient for mood. Yishi Sweet Osmanthus Oatmeal (U.S.) promotes calming effects from functional ingredients such as turmeric, hemp seed, osmanthus flower and almonds. Yishi notes that almonds are a “superfood in Chinese Medicine, used specifically to support the liver, kidneys, eyes and lungs.” Mother Earth Chocolate Brownie Bliss Wellbeing Bar (New Zealand) calls out its magnesium content, stating that the product “contributes towards normal psychological function.” Almonds are a good source of magnesium, a nutrient research suggests may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety.

Almonds also play a role in feel-good indulgence by contributing to popular taste and texture preferences. Lindberg Crunch 55% Fruit And Nut Dark Chocolate (India), a launch with chocolate, almonds, and raisins, focuses on the sensory contributions of its ingredients and entreats consumers to “encounter true bliss with its rich flavor and delectable crunchy texture.”

Finally, almond products also serve as a base for added functional ingredients, enabling complementary flavors and inclusions to shine. Koia’s creamy almond milk-based Cold Brew Protein Coffee (U.S.) “contains health-promoting compounds known to foster mental alertness.” Smpl’s Vanilla Almond Focus Bar (U.S.) includes “a boost of 200mg of ashwagandha and 200mg of ginseng to improve focus and concentration and reduce stress.” With over 14 versatile forms including almond butter, almond milk, defatted almond flour and more, almonds can also be a go-to partner for formulating with other ingredients.

Whether changes in mental health are caused by a pandemic, climate change, work life, home life, or health, consumers will continue to turn to food and beverages containing almonds to improve their mood and feelings of wellbeing. For consumers seeking holistic feel-good ingredients, almonds are an ideal choice due to their nutrient package including 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, 13 grams of good unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat, essential fatty acids, polyphenols3, magnesium, copper, and antioxidant vitamin E in each serving.

  1. Innova Market Insights. 2019 Consumer Survey.
  2. Innova Market Insights Database, 2016H2-2017H1 vs 2020H2-2021H1.
  3. Milbury, P.E.; Chen, C.; Dolnikowski, G.; Blumberg, J. Determination of flavonoids and phenolics and their distribution in almonds. J. Agric. Food Chem, 2006, 54,5027-5023.

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