Good News For Nutraceuticals

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If you’re Japanese, European or heavily involved in natural foods, nutraceuticals may be a regular item on your shopping list. But for the average American, nutraceuticals or functional foods are virtually unknown. That’s about to change.

A new report, 2008 Culinary Trend Mapping Report on Emerging Health & Wellness, from Packaged Facts based on research from the Center for Culinary Development finds that have nutraceuticals have reached a tipping point in North America. That is, the adoption curve is speeding up and we can expect increased interest in this category from both retailers and consumers…soon.

Ecopreneurs in the functional foods space already know about the benefits. Nutraceuticals, extracts of food with health benefits in capsule, liquid or powder form have been popular in many parts of the world for years. In the U.S. sales reached $27 billion last year, a significant increase driven by an aging population and a growing interest in natural health.

Where are the sweet spots ripe for start-ups and growing companies? This report names a few:

“Huetrition,” is a trend in the early emergence stage. Forget artificial colors, natural pigments derived from food can provide health benefits. Dark Chocolate and the movement to eat a variety of colors, the rainbow movement is driving this trend.

Beauty Foods – foods and beverages, which contain antioxidants, collagen and other skin-improving compounds, offer gentle, natural ways to look good.

Brain-enhancers (AKA “cognitive boosters” or “smart foods”) are edibles fortified with amino acids, vitamins and proteins that stimulate brain function. Red Bull is the perfect example.

Satiety, or “fill-you-up” foods, aren’t new (think oatmeal), but an emerging group rely less on bulk and more on adding fiber, protein and fatty acids to suppress appetite.

“Mood foods” contain amino acids that stimulate alpha brainwaves. In North America, mood-conscious consumers are buying beverages such as Glaceau Vitaminwater’s b-relaxed, offering B vitamins and thenine.

Immunity-enhancing foods and beverages, like 7-Eleven’s Fusion Defense coffee, claim to help ward off illnesses with vitamins, antioxidants or beneficial bacteria.

Digestive aiding foods like probiotics. Good bacteria enhanced foods are rapidly gaining popularity.

Functional food ecopreneurs get ready. The American consumer is ready for you!

Photo Credit Tim Parkinson at Flickr Under Creative Commons License

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Consumer Appetite For Green Food Is Largely Driven By Health Considerations

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