About a quarter of U.S. adults are trying to manage a health or medical condition via healthy foods, according to a new study.
The Chicago-based NPD Group found that a rapidly increasing number of consumers are aware of how their food and beverage choices can help them manage and, in some cases, reverse certain medical conditions.
Younger adults, ages 18-24, are particularly interested in using foods to improve their health, according to NPD. Last year young adults chose foods and beverages with healthy profiles for 19% of their meals and in-between snacks.
For example, 9% of adults say a top nutrition goal is protecting brain health and when asked about foods that promote brain health, young adults were 45% more likely to express an interest in these products compared to 35-44-year-olds.
Growing interest in food as medicine is evidenced by the types of emerging superfoods, including elderberry, microgreens and reishi mushrooms.
“There are a variety of superfoods, like kale, quinoa, and acai berry, that have mainstreamed and found their way into a myriad of foods,” says Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. “Rather than being one of many offering a superfood, understanding the trajectory of emerging superfoods helps food marketers be ahead of the curve in making calculated decisions about new product investments.”