Foods with specialty nutritional ingredients, such as omega-3s, botanicals, antioxidants, and probiotics, are a hot category within the functional foods market. According to research from the Institute of Food Technologists, consumers now rank specialty ingredients as a top nutritional priority—only vitamin intake ranks as a higher priority. Finding ways to increase the bioavailability (the extent to which a nutrient is absorbed into the body and made available for use) of these specialty ingredients is also on the rise. Another exploding category within the functional food realm is “real” food, or food made with recognizable ingredients. “Real” is now the third most appealing term to consumers when it comes to describing food, behind “fresh” and “made from scratch.” These same trends are evident in dietary supplement sales, where food-based products, such as meal replacement, whole food, fruit, and vegetable supplements, have been the fastest growing area.
Source: Institute of Food Technologists