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Top 10 Functional Food Trends

by Sandy Todd Webster on Sep 10, 2012

Industry News

Pills, potions and powders seem to be taking a back seat to “real-food nutrition.” That’s according to a list of top functional food trends presented earlier this year at the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Wellness 2012 meeting. Consumers are looking to tap vitamins and minerals from the foods and beverages they eat and drink instead of from synthetic substitutes.

A. Elizabeth Sloan, PhD, president of Sloan Trends Inc. and contributing editor of IFT’s Food Technology magazine, presented the research, which included data from various scientific, food and consumer research sources. “Consumers are preferring to get their nutrients naturally and their health benefits naturally, versus [from] fortified foods or vitamin and mineral supplements,” Sloan said in a press release. “This has been going on for 20 years. What’s new is that it’s being put into action.”

The data show that from 2009 to 2011 the number of people making an effort to serve meals naturally higher in vitamins and nutrition grew by almost 17% (from 36% to 42%). Concurrently, vitamin and supplement users cut back significantly on their use of these products, citing three reasons:

  1. They believe that the quality and benefits of nutrition in foods are best.
  2. They doubt the bioavailability of supplements.
  3. They are concerned about supplements’ long-term effects on the digestive system.
Here are the Top 10 Functional Food Trends listed in the article:
  • real-food nutrition
  • “mini-managers” (buying the same food staples but replacing traditional purchases with healthier choices, such as whole-grain bread versus white bread)
  • bioavailability
  • protein power
  • plant-based foods
  • gourmet nutrition
  • the new risks (stroke, heart attack prevention)
  • first aid (relief from sore throat, constipation, sleeplessness)
  • kids, dads and grannies (appealing to these groups)
  • liquidification

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.