Though many vitamins and minerals have been offered in foods for a long time, fortified foods are moving in many new and different directions.

“Immunity claims on labels have seen a major influx in the last couple years, and this trend will continue to grow, especially expanding into newer areas like baked products,” said Amr Shaheed, technical service manager, food applications, Innophos.

While awareness of ashwagandha and its usage is growing, other ayurvedics are emerging because of their innovative benefits that meet the demands of an expanding consumer base, said John Quilter, global proactive health vice president for Kerry Ingredients. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system that relies on a natural and holistic approach to physical and mental health, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

“Current research shows that joint health is a priority across age groups,” he said. “More than a third of Gen Z and millennial consumers as well as nearly 70% of Gen X and older consumers say it’s a top reason for purchasing healthy lifestyle products.”

Bakers and snack makers interested in helping consumers improve their health must identify what is important to them and what makes sense for their products in the fortification space.

“As the transition to a food-as-medicine mindset progresses, there has never been a better time to be in the fortification business,” said Sam Wright IV, chief executive officer, The Wright Group. “We foresee increasing momentum over the long term. The dietary supplement industry continues to grow at a 5% to 6% annual clip, but fortified foods and beverages, including baked goods and snacks, are outpacing this rate.”