Consumers Buying More Superfoods for Medical Purposes

BY Rachel Cagle
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"While it is commonly understood that good nutrition promotes general health, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how their food and beverage choices can help them manage and, in some cases, reverse certain medical conditions, according to health and wellness research by The NPD Group. NPD finds that about a quarter of U.S. adults are trying to manage a health or medical condition by making healthy food and beverage choices."

"Younger adults, ages 18–24, are particularly interested in using foods to improve their health. Last year young adults chose foods and beverages with healthy profiles for 19% of their meals and in-​between snacks. For example, 9% of adults say a top nutrition goal is protecting brain health and when asked about foods that promote brain health, young adults were 45% more likely to express an interest in these products compared to 35–44-year-olds, finds NPD’s Health Aspirations & Behavioral Tracking Service."

"Growing interest in food as medicine is evidenced by the types of emerging superfoods. Among the emerging superfoods NPD is tracking, consumers expressed the most interest in trying the following: Elderberry, which contains antioxidants and is believed to relieve colds, fight the flu, and boost the immune system; cannabidiol (CBD), which is an active ingredient in cannabis and may help treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety; and Manuka honey, which is honey from the Manuka flower and its perceived benefits are wound healing, soothing a sore throat, improving digestion, and more. Also up and coming as superfoods are reishi mushrooms, an Asian mushroom that is thought to boost immune systems among other health benefits; ashwagandha herb, sometimes referred to as 'Indian ginseng' is believed to act as a sedative; and microgreens, young vegetables that have an intense aromatic flavor and concentrated nutrient content." 

'There are a variety of superfoods, like kale, quinoa, and acai berry, that have mainstreamed and found their way into a myriad of foods,' says Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. 'Rather than being one of many offering a superfood, understanding the trajectory of emerging superfoods helps food marketers be ahead of the curve in making calculated decisions about new product investments.'”

Not surprisingly, Healthy/​Organic Shoppers like to stay up-​to-​date on the latest health trends in their leisure time. Their favorite sections of blogs, magazines and newspapers are food and cooking (33.5%) and health and wellness (30.9%), according to AudienceSCAN. And, last year, they took action after seeing ads in both print and online magazines (44.5%) and newspapers (43.8%). They're also 37% more likely than others to read a blog almost every day, and are 49% more likely to check a company's blog to evaluate their expertise and subject knowledge. About 40% also enjoy getting emails from businesses containing new product announcements, and last year, 55.4% took action after receiving an email ad or newsletter.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on specialty food stores and supermarkets/​grocery stores, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.