What are Americans looking for when they choose healthy food? Most say immediate results
07/30/2019 // Cassie B. // Views

With lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and cancer continuing to climb, it’s not surprising that so many people are seeking out healthy foods these days. Of course, not all healthy foods are created equally, so a new study explored precisely what customers are looking for in these foods – and immediate results was at the top of the list.

This was the finding of a new research report that was recently revealed by the Kerry Group at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. They discovered that Americans are trying to prevent short-term and long-term health concerns alike, with 69 percent of health-conscious adults saying they’re proactive when it comes to their health.

The study showed that weight management is the most popular health concern across all age groups. However, as people approach their 50s, they tend to place a greater emphasis on looking after their cardiovascular health. Moreover, despite the overall trend toward health food that is seen among young people today, the survey found that more Baby Boomers than Millennials believe a healthy diet is essential for maintaining good health (95 percent versus 88 percent).

Millennials are showing a greater interest in what’s known as experiential nutrition. They prioritize areas like energy, stress, digestion and sleep, and they want the foods that they consume to have an immediate impact.

Interestingly, the report pointed out that many people are still using medications instead of food supplements for mood and sleep issues. This, they say, presents an opportunity for the food industry to offer people healthier and safer ways to approach these common problems.


Report identifies “big five” superfoods

The study looked at 85 specific ingredients that are related to health benefits, and five in particular stood out: turmeric, ginseng, apple cider vinegar, green tea and ginger.

Kerry reports that turmeric’s presence on restaurant menus has risen by 46 percent in the last year alone, while its retail product revenue has jumped by 179 percent since 2016. People are turning to this herb for brain, gut, bone and joint health, and it’s being incorporated into smoothies, teas, and protein drinks.

Ginger can now be found on more than half of all American menus thanks to its ability to enhance bone health, digestion and immunity while also providing an energy boost. Apple cider vinegar, meanwhile, has noted a growth of 86 percent in the last four years, with people using it to manage their weight and blood sugar in addition to lowering their cholesterol.

Nootropics are also noting a spike in popularity, and ginseng has made a name for itself thanks to its brain health and mood management benefits. Green tea is gaining a lot of attention for its anti-aging benefits as well as its effects on heart and gut health.

Some of the high-functioning foods that made their top 20 list in terms of ingredients that people perceive as offering health benefits include omega-3 fatty acids, honey, coffee, probiotics, oats, dark chocolate, avocado oil, spinach, blueberries, coconut oil and ginkgo biloba.

The researchers believe that America has an edge on other markets when it comes to health foods because American consumers tend to be more open to trying exotic ingredients that offer greater benefits; other parts of the world tend to follow suit when something catches on here. While immunity management and beauty are important to consumers, it’s categories like digestive health, energy, stress and sleep that are really dominating the health food market at the moment.

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