by Matt Weik
Consumer demand drives innovation – it's that simple. And what matters is who is the first to use various new opportunities and capitalize on it. For a long time, consumers have had enough of the trends in whole foods. There were a number of nutritional gaps that prompted many to switch to supplements to meet their daily needs. But then there was a lack of trust in food supplements. This has now led the movement to shift back to movement and innovation for the whole food health option. We started calling these functional foods and drinks.
Eat first mentality
There has always been a "food first" mentality where people should strive to eat everything they need, nutritionally, whole foods, and whatever they lack, they could supplement with certain supplements. But let's face it, people would rather eat their diet than shake them or swallow them in pill or capsule form (and definitely not in a calcareous protein or food bar).
Consumers are now demanding more whole foods options that offer more features, and brands are reaching back to the drawing board to create new innovations in the room. Admittedly, this should not reduce the growth of the sports nutrition category. It is estimated that, due to its expediency and its own innovation, this category will continue to grow year over year over a long period.
What factors play a role when buying food supplements?
What causes people to bite on the sports nutrition hook and then get out before they can be wrapped up? There are actually a few things – ingredients, taste, texture, trust.
Ingredients: What ingredients do supplement companies use in today's products? People don't want added sugar, preservatives, or anything artificial. If you can't pronounce the ingredient, don't assume it's good for you.
Taste: This is self-explanatory – if it tastes bad or doesn't appeal to the consumer, it will never be bought again (regardless of how good it is for you – check out all the green powders). Taste means a lot these days, as consumers expect things to taste good.
Texture: The mouthfeel has a lot to do with products these days. Protein shakes are too watery. Protein shakes are too thick. And so on. It all depends on personal preferences at the end of the day and what one person likes, another doesn't like.
Trust: Consumers want to buy from and support brands and companies that they can trust. This is related to their track record in the industry. There are currently no "most trusted" brands in the supplement industry overall, especially when all litigation is in circulation. Brands must therefore focus on earning consumer business and building trust that can lead to brand loyalty in the long term.
Check out all the protein bars, RTD shakes, protein powder, green powder, red powder, etc. that are currently on the market. It seems like every company has its own version. Some taste good, others taste terrible. The cream rises while everything else drops until the brand or product disappears.
The switch from dietary supplements to whole foods
Brands use the whole movement for food health. They have brands that create healthier pancakes, healthier pudding, healthier cakes, healthier cookies, healthier ice cream, healthier peanut butter, and many other healthier options. These products tend to have fewer calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar compared to their original versions, while in most cases they contain more protein and fiber.
Some brands even take the next step in health of whole foods by focusing on consumer favorites and finding ways to make them vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie.
Consumer behavior with various health options for whole foods is constantly changing, and as something new is launched, consumers are already demanding something better (which is good). They also want these new food health options to include various functional and performance-based components. For example, a normal biscuit, while tempting, can excite a consumer and look good, but consumers now want a healthier biscuit option that, among other benefits, can also improve gut health, increase protein intake, and decrease insulin levels. The bottom line is that they want whole food options that go beyond the norm.
WHO uses these products is as important as the product itself
If you've been living under a stone these days, social media has exploded and influencers are flocking to social media worldwide to introduce various new brands and products. Athletes and celebrities advocate healthy eating options and these are aimed at the daily household. People who were not interested in changing their eating behavior now see their role models when using certain products and foods, which then leads to a sample.
Nowadays you see more and more athletes working for food brands compared to supplement companies. Why? Well, not only because they have deeper pockets to pay for these influencers, but they're also whole food options where things are trendy.
They have brands like Clif Bar ($ 750 million company) that have tried sports nutrition and are now returning to the mainstream market and targeting consumers looking for everyday health and nutrition benefits.
Will health options for whole foods stay here?
I personally think so. At least I don't think it will ever go away completely. Demand and demand are too great. You will always have people on both sides of the debate who say that you should follow the entire food route and others who say that you should fill food gaps with easy and convenient to use supplements. Nothing is wrong unless there is a negative relationship with food.
The goal is not to eliminate anything with this new innovation in the introduction of functional foods and beverages. You must identify your wishes and needs using functional whole food options and / or dietary supplements. Brands need to find ways to make things easier and more convenient. Ingredient profiles and aroma need to be improved. And the general functional aspect of a food or product needs to be explained well enough so that all consumers can understand and appreciate the benefits.
In my opinion, whole food health options are here to stay. It's time for brands to build and deliver, or lag behind.