Functional Foods Industry – What’s key to success in 2023?

Food engineer and assistant crafting beef bone broth and extract products in extracts kitchen

Functional Food - The Food of the Future . . .

The food industry in 2023 is a year of new opportunities with increased interest in ‘food as medicine’, sustainability, new food technologies, and a drive for more exciting everyday meals.  According to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), functional food is seen to be the food of the future – following the global pandemic and as food technology evolves, interest in functional food is striking high.  Consumers are wanting to improve their health through the foods they consume, having impact from the inside, out.

Both functional food ingredients and products look to have opportunity.  Those that can offer more than just an energy boost or a favourable flavour or taste – anything from a more balanced gut, a boosted immune system, or a better night’s sleep.  Any functional gain is likely to receive interest.

With consumers more interested in this innovative aspect of the industry, there are a number of trends proving popular;

1. Products which sit across supplement and food categories – The pandemic has increased consumers’ focus on optimising physical and mental health. The IFT note that half (54%) of consumers now buy foods and beverages that will help improve their everyday wellbeing, compared with 40% who buy products for athletic purposes.

Many people interested in functional foods will already be consuming at least one supplement to support their health and wellbeing.  However Laura Swain, editor at Food, Beverage and Hospitality says that food manufacturers should be aware of contributing to “pill fatigue”.  She also states that younger generations are looking for “functional foods to be a treat rather than a chore.”  Subsequently Laura believes that companies who can develop innovative and engaging ways to consume functional ingredients will become favourites with consumers.

2. Collagen that is better for the environment – Collagen has been popular over many years as a support for skin, bone and general wellbeing. Many collagen-based functional foods currently use bovine collagen.  Depending on it’s source of origin, the sustainability story that comes with bovine collagen is variable.  In New Zealand where cattle are 100% pasture-raised, roaming freely and rotationally grazed we present a sustainable model.  It is also predicted that plant-based and fermented collagen may grow in popularity as they will be perceived as having a lower environmental impact.

3. Functional Foods that respect health of people and the planet – Sustainability remains an important purchase driver even in the current inflationary environment with consumers increasingly seeing the health of the planet connected to their own health. ‘Ethical’ product benefits reflecting food produced using ethical and humane production methods are considered to appeal to health-conscious consumers according to IFT.  They say that two thirds of younger adults feel they’ve consumed healthier food if it’s produced ethically.  Essentially any functional ingredient or food which is created with an ethical and sustainability focus will likely be popular.

In a world where the sustainable demand for animal protein is increasing, here at Taranaki Bio Extracts we take an upcycle approach, maximising export quality grass-fed beef bones to craft our premium range of ingredients.  Grass-fed reflects strong animal welfare practices and innovative farming systems that support the New Zealand environment.

4. Functional Drinks served at Bars – In recent years drinking habits have changed for many with the shift in popularity towards low alcohol and zero alcohol beverages. Many of these have functional health benefits from fermented ingredients for good gut health, to various vitamins.  Laura Swain is predicting these drinks will appear in bars and restaurants alongside their alcohol counterparts to support a new wave of consumers.

5. Functional cooking – Since the pandemic there has been a rise in remote and home-based working with an accompanying change in eating habits. IFT report that nearly half of US consumers are cooking more meals at home than they did a year ago.  There is demand for products and ingredients that make healthy food preparation easier.  They note that claims related to real ingredients, kosher, fresh frozen, 100% natural and no antibiotics/ no hormones are driving sales of frozen food according to the American Frozen Food Institute.

At Taranaki Bio Extracts our ingredients are popular across food, functional and wellbeing products.  They support international brands as natural savoury flavourings, stocks and culinary bases through to ingredients in gravies, soups, broths and bouillons.

Learn more about our 100% natural grass-fed beef bone broth, beef bone extracts, and beef bone collagen extracts here Our range of natural food ingredients | Taranaki Bio Extracts