A closer look at: the sustainable food and health trends

13 December 2021, 07:06 AM
  • Sustainability and health concerns have long been niche areas of the food and drink sector, but as they move to the fore, links are forming between healthy eating and a healthy planet
A closer look at: the sustainable food and health trends

Read about more food and drink trends for 2022 here.

“[Consultancy] CGA’s research shows that nearly three-quarters of consumers now try to lead a healthy lifestyle (73%) and an environmentally friendly lifestyle (72%),” states Fentimans in its 2022 market report. “While the easing of Covid-19 restrictions might lessen some of people’s immediate concerns on these issues, they will be near the top of the agenda for the foreseeable future,” it adds.

Consumers will be seeking out sustainable packaging and climate-positive messages, as well as clear nutritional information.

The sector has seen a huge amount of new health and wellbeing products over the last two years as consumers became more aware of immunity and general health. “Products with functional ingredients really took off,” says Heather Morris, co-founder of consultancy SHFoodie. “One area tipped for growth are products that help those suffering with long Covid, e.g. taste and smell loss, as well as boosting immunity for disease prevention. Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for post-Covid sufferers. More research is needed, but it’s one to watch.”

Furthermore, 40% of the nation is committing to healthier eating this year, according to Cuisinart’s report, with almost two-thirds of Brits now actively cooking from scratch using freshly bought ingredients.

From a sustainable angle, Heather also predicts waste reduction, or food ‘upcycling’ will be at the heart of the eco food movement in 2022. “As a by-product of food production, companies are looking at their waste streams, both for improving their environmental impact and for cost savings, particularly with price hikes on ingredients and packaging becoming more pertinent,” she says. “Over the coming months I predict there will be more companies looking at how so-called ‘waste’ materials can be put to good use, which can only be a good thing for all of us.”

Focus on: Gut health

Philip Linardos, co-founder and CEO of ShelfNow, says the continued popularity of gut health products, like kombucha drinks, will grow in the new year. “Between 2020-2021, the number of kombucha products available via ShelfNow were up by 67%,” he said. Heather adds that kefir and water kefir products are becoming more popular too, and apple cider vinegar, a traditional ingredient that boasts a number of health benefits, will also ride the gut health wave. “[Apple cider vinegar] must be an area to grow further with so many product categories possible,” she said.

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