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Towards a holistic approach to well-being in F&B [Interview]

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Beyond the physical aspects of health, the isolating and inhibitive nature of lockdown has raised awareness of mental well-being. Mintel predicts that in the future consumers will take a more holistic approach to their health, and that they will consider mental and emotional well-being as important as diet and exercise. According to Emma Schofield, Senior Analyst, Global Food Science at Mintel, there are opportunities for the food industry to consider this holistic angle of health, offering support with social and mental well-being, as well as physical health.
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Do products for mental and emotional well- being fall in the food supplement domain? Or are this health benefits also important in the food and beverage space?

“Functional claims (such as sleep & stress support, bone health, or brain and nervous system health) are more common in vitamin, mineral and supplement launches, than in food and drink launches. However functional claims are more prevalent in sports and energy drinks, and teas, than in most other food and drink categories. As attention to holistic health grows, functional claims linked to emotional and mental wellbeing may be able to expand out of the vitamins, minerals and supplements category and into a broader range of food and drink categories.”

“Food and drink products can expand out of the more physical strands of health like bone or immune health, delivering products that target consumers’ health more holistically. Food and drink products that support different areas of mental and emotional wellbeing, from sleep and stress, through to concentration and mental energy, may be able to grow in new spaces.”

What types of ingredients are being used?

“A number of botanical ingredients have a long history of use in the holistic wellbeing space. Ingredients used to deliver mental wellbeing in supplements or healthcare can provide inspiration for food and drink products targeting the mental wellbeing space. Chamomile and lavender are often used for their relaxation benefits for example. A number of micronutrients, such as magnesium, have approved health claims for psychological health, as another example. Cannabidiol (CBD) is emerging in new formats and often cited as having benefits for sleep and relaxation.”

“Although without regulatory or industry definition, terms such as adaptogenic, or nootropic, are emerging in the mental and emotional wellness space, and may appeal to younger consumers who are more adventurous with the formats and ingredients they seek. Adaptogens are generally referred to as botanical substances that can help the body restore balance and cope with physical or mental stress. Nootropics are a broad group of ingredients that claim to enhance brain power, focus, alertness and general wellbeing.”

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Is COVID-19 having an impact on this market? Are people more willing to search for such products?

“The restrictive and isolating nature of lockdown and other COVID-19 restrictions has placed further emphasis on mental wellbeing. Attention to mental wellbeing may open opportunities for products that support consumers’ health holistically, delivering relaxation, sleep and concentration benefits.”

Be sure to catch Emma Schofield’s presentation on ‘Holistic health: what are the opportunities for food and drink producers to cater to consumers’ well-being?’ during Fi Europe CONNECT 2020, from 23 November – 4 December.

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