Raspberry ice cream with added protein can be a great alternative for post-workout munching. Dark chocolate with chamomile and decaffeinated green tea should help to wind down and relax in the evening. These are just couple of examples of how brands are wooing consumers today with health claims for indulgent treats. As people started spending more time at home than at work or commute, F&B companies have got a renewed opportunity to offer snacking solutions that present both comfort and health. Flavours with perceived health benefits and paired with functional ingredients can help in redefining consumer treats for permissible indulgence.
Taste with Health
Recent studies (Mintel) reveal 51% consumers are snacking because they are treating themselves more often, and 50% as an added comfort.As snacking occasions broaden, not many are willing to compromise on taste for health. Flavour, taste and satisfying a craving are still the key priorities in preferring a snack.The fact that 56% consumers have bought comfort foods regularly as a result of COVID19 is a clear indication, indulgence is very much the need of the hour. However, behaviour shifts seen in consumers like interest in a holistic approach to mind-body balance,renewed motivation to improve individual health and a proactive perspective on immunity are making health, the central focus while designing treats.
Consumers clearly want to strike the perfect balance between taste and health while choosing treats for indulgence. For 56% consumers sugar reduction is more important while purchasing indulgent food and drinks (Food Navigator). Low-carb, low-sugar alternative to beer, wine and spirits are thus seeing more takers. With plant-based ingredients picking up popularity, dairy and frozen snacks are also seeing a makeover. Almond, soy, oat milks have become more commonplace.
Flavours for Wellbeing
Moving beyond the immunity claim, brands must be willing to experiment with flavours and ingredients which can support a healthy lifestyle for the consumers. Incorporating functional ingredients with unique flavour profiles like botanicals can be a great idea to increase the wellness quotient of products. 53% global consumers are looking for products with botanicals to improve their health.Flavours like raspberry, passion fruit, cardamom, bergamot, saffron, chamomile and ginger can be incorporated to add health claims like digestion-aiding, heart-health improving, sleep inducing, brain-boosting, energy-giving etc.Fruit flavours known for its nutritional and antioxidant propertiesare useful in adding positivity and vitality beyond flavour and taste.
In a bid to ‘healthify’ many foods and drinks, decadent flavours like salted caramel, birthday cake and macchiato can be introduced with sugar replacement variants. Classic flavours like vanilla, chocolate and pistachio are appearing in coconut milk-based milkshakes.Organic ingredients and natural flavours will have strong presence in beverages. Natural and/ or organic energy drinks are expected to make 40% of the energy drinks market by 2025 (Grandview Market Research). Caffeinated drinks can be redefined in healthy formats by pairing with indulgent flavours and backed by the goodness of other nutritional ingredients. This can also help in creating the perception of the drinks delivering less intense boost of energy.
The right combination of flavour and purpose can provide the perfect incentive for consumers to pick a product off the shelves. Beyond exciting flavours, great tastes and nutritional ingredients, consumers are also looking for clean labels and sustainability. Brands must be geared to bring in the fine balance while fueling new innovation in the flavour and ingredient space to offer tasty yet guiltless treats.