CHICAGO — Interest in tailored nutrition and a proactive perspective on immunity are among the five key behavior shifts that are inspiring innovation and creating opportunities for food, beverage and supplement companies, according to ADM.

“Health and wellness remain at the forefront of the global conversation,” said June Lin, vice president of global marketing, health and wellness at ADM. “The pandemic has transformed how consumers perceive holistic health and well-being. It’s impacting how we live and increasing the importance of the foods, beverages and supplements we choose, presenting new opportunities for our industry to meet their needs.”

In developing its five health and wellness behavior shifts, ADM utilized research and insight gathered by market intelligence company FMCG Gurus over the past year.

According to FMCG’s research, 60% of global consumers are planning to improve their overall health and wellness in the next 12 months. In addition, these consumers have indicated they are taking a more proactive approach to managing well-being with functional nutrition, close-to-nature ingredients and foods that signal self-care.

The first health and wellness behavior shift ADM has identified is renewed motivation to improve individual health and wellness.

“Pandemic experiences have varied across the globe, but a nearly universal takeaway is the renewed focus on preventative health and wellness behaviors,” ADM said, citing FMCG’s research showing 76% of global consumers said they will eat and drink more healthily due to COVID-19, and 41% plan to be more physically active.

Five behavior shifts reshaping innovation list“Products designed to optimize physical health and mental wellness at all life stages will help consumers protect themselves, their families and their communities,” ADM said.

A second shift involves a holistic approach to managing the mind-body connection.

ADM pointed to FMCG research showing 51% of global consumers are planning to improve their cognitive and mental health over the next 12 months.

“A desire to keep their physical and mental health in balance is promoting new techniques to manage stress, from exercise and meditation to eating foods with perceived mood-enhancing benefits,” ADM said. “As consumers return to more active lifestyles, convenient products with functional ingredients that boost energy, enhance cognitive performance and regulate mood are gaining prominence.”

Tailored nutrition that supports personal health and wellness goals is a third behavior shift that is expected to occur, according to ADM.

According to FMCG research, nearly two-thirds of global consumers are interested in foods and beverages that are customized to meet their individual nutrition needs. As a result, ADM said it expects more consumers to seek out wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients in home-cooked and prepared meals, with particular focus on fiber and protein.

“Brands can help people stay motivated in the kitchen with innovative flavors and convenient formats,” ADM said.

A fourth shift is a proactive perspective on immunity.

“Consumer focus on sustaining health and wellness through nutrition may likely become an enduring behavioral change, even after the global pandemic is over.” 

Research from FMCG shows 65% of global consumers are more concerned about immunity since the onset of COVID-19. This trend, ADM said, is leading consumers to shift from a defensive approach against illness to one that’s more proactive and holistic.

“Consumers are looking for ways to incorporate immune function-supporting solutions, like probiotics and vitamin C and D, into their daily lives,” ADM said. “Products with functional ingredients that support a healthy immune system will increasingly attract consumer attention.”

The fifth and final behavior shift revolves around purposeful indulgence as the new “permissible indulgence,” ADM said.

“During the pandemic, many people gave themselves permission to consume indulgent food and beverages as a form of self-care,” ADM said, noting FMCG’s findings that 56% of global consumers have purchased comfort food regularly as a result of COVID-19. “Consumers are recognizing as long as these are purposeful — and not impulsive — choices, indulgence has a role in a positive relationship with food. ADM projects new opportunities for beverages, snacks and confectionery products that deliver functional benefits with delicious flavor.

“Consumer focus on sustaining health and wellness through nutrition may likely become an enduring behavioral change, even after the global pandemic is over. ADM responds by helping food and beverage companies develop customized solutions to meet evolving consumer needs for healthier living.”