Health should be #1 driver in food and beverage development

Despite the current global atmosphere of financial uncertainty, consumers surveyed recently by Innova Market Insightssay that health should be the key driver of future food and beverage product development. Additionally, consumers prioritise health over affordability.

“Health benefits remain at the top of the list for consumers, even in financially challenging times,” says Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights.

“Consumers we surveyed around the world are sending a clear message that health is the number one driver of food and beverage purchases, ahead of factors such as affordability, flavour, and naturalness.”

Williams points out that nutrition rises to the top in a number of measures of consumer sentiment around health and wellbeing, with three in five consumers surveyed globally saying that healthier living also means following a healthy and nutritious diet.

Interest in functional nutrition is on the increase in many countries, with growing numbers of consumers globally saying they choose products that positively boost nutrition, immunity and (gut) health. In addition, nearly 25% of consumers agree that functional ingredients that boost physical or mental health are worth paying more for. However, Williams stresses the importance of innovative nutritious options that also are affordable.

“Three in five North American consumers surveyed by Innova in 2023 report that they are looking for simple and more affordable nutritional solutions to meet their needs, and nearly half agree that it is difficult to eat healthily because nutritious foods are less affordable.”

Innova takes an Insights 360° holistic approach that combines consumer data with intelligence on category, product, ingredient, flavour and packaging innovation. “We are actively watching the marketplace for the next generation of functional foods, beverages, supplements, and ingredients that offer to help consumers cope with the challenges of the future,” says Williams.