It also said that affordable nutrition and sugar and salt reduction among some of the top areas for innovation in 2023.
Kerry said that trends are underpinned by a desire for sustainable nutrition with consumers becoming more interested in proactively managing their physical and mental health while seeking products that are affordable, healthy and good for the planet.
“Sustainability continues to be the leading driver in food and beverage innovation, as consumers become increasingly focused on health and affordability in their nutritional spend. The Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute’s research finds 2023 will see long-standing trends of health and sustainability take more personalised approach to specific consumer groups and need-states. Nutritional innovation is increasingly enabling consumers to proactively manage their physical and mental health including through functional beverages; sex-specific nutrition; and probiotics for more than digestive health," said Nathan Pratt, senior nutrition scientist at Kerry.
“We are also seeing consumers placing increased importance on the nutritional density of their foods, as they seek affordable yet healthy alternatives in today’s macroenvironment. The industry must consider all of these trends in the context of feeding a growing global population – a task to which food science and technology will be critically important in the coming year and beyond.”
The top 10 trends for 2023
Functional beverages are leading an industry-wide boom in products aimed to help consumers proactively manage their health. In 2023, KHNI predicts there will be a focus on short-term need states of beauty; immune support; digestive health; energy; and weight management.
Women’s health issues are being increasingly addressed via nutrition with broadening clinical research, delivering innovative supplement launches to support women’s digestive, heart, cognitive, bone, joint and immune health, KHNI said. These also support female specific need states such as fertility, breastfeeding and menopause.
It is predicted that there will be more products focusing on joint and cardiovascular health with these benefits targeting all active age groups.
There will continue to be an increased focus on mental wellbeing post-Covid and growing science on the role of ingredients such as adaptogens and nootropics in brain health is seeing cognitive health carve a strong foothold in the food and beverage space.
High stakes for sugar and salt
Changes in nutrition and labelling legislation are becoming more widespread, and consumers are becoming more health conscience. Front-of-pack signposting is increasing to make healthier choices more simple but is also driving the increasing need for innovative technology to help manufacturers create healthier, more sustainable products, that deliver on taste and experience.
Food innovation is not only focused on premium novel ingredients, but also on how we can make the food system more economically sustainable by maximising the nutritional density and affordability of foods.
Protein production’s future
KNHI said that it would be “nearly impossible” to feed the planet’s population growth using the current systems of food production. Food science and technology will be critically important to innovate alternative means of producing the protein required to feed the planet.
Microbiome – beyond digestive health
Microbes extend far beyond the gut or digestive tract, and microbiologists are identifying more and more bacteria with interesting properties. The microbiome has been linked to a multitude of health benefits beyond digestive health including reproductive and cardiometabolic health, alongside immunity.
Hydration is moving beyond plain water, as consumers look for more exciting options such as sparkling water or electrolyte powers. KNHI said there isalso a move away from sweetness in hydration, with sparkling waters and low-sweetness options are being chosen more commonly by consumers looking to hydrate and manage weight.
Plant-based to plant-forward
Consumers are increasingly looking beyond meat mimicry to plant-forward products as they challenge the heavily processed nature of plant proteins, Kerry highlighted. Plant-forward innovations that offer servings of fruits, vegetables, or whole-grains can help bridge gaps in our day-to-day diets while differentiating themselves in the plant-based market.