MarketsandMarkets’ newest report claims that the functional food industry is projected to hit $2.5 billion in 2020.
Steadily growing since 2016, functional foods are evolving from a trend to a whole new era. This era we are entering has been catalyzed by the pandemic where foods with functional health benefits have become a priority.
Following up after our introductory blog post of the functional food movement, we will list a few of the top functional foods in the market. Get caught up on functional foods here.
Popular Functional Foods
Kombucha has been gaining massive popularity in 2020 and has even been dubbed the “fastest growing product in the functional beverage market” by Forbes.
This popular fermented tea is offered on tap or added to cocktails and deserts. The basic formula for Kombucha is brewed tea mixed with scoby and sweetener. Scoby, the core ingredient, is the abbreviation for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.”
If you’ve guessed it, this is exactly what makes this beverage “functional.” Scony is a probiotic that catalyzes fermentation and therefore helps restore gut flora. People actively seek out Kombucha for digestion improvement and to strengthen the immune system.
It is important to keep in mind that functional food trends arise because of a trending health concern. While Kombucha is mainly popular because of it’s benefits to gut health, it is also known to give an energy boost. This energy boost is often described as an “energy buzz” similar to the buzz you get from drinking beer. This surprisingly makes it a great beer substitute for people who may be trying to limit their alcohol intake.
Don’t be deceived by the outer appearance of Turmeric. It is neither ginger nor a misshaped sweet potato. The inside reveals a bright gold and orange glow with a hue uniquely characteristic of Turmeric.
Turmeric has been used in Indian and Southeast Asia as a medicine with anti-inflammatory and antioxidizing properties for centuries. In the Western world it was primarily found among yoga and hippie circles due to it’s attachment to holistic health.
It has since expanded beyond these circles as holistic health becomes more mainstream and turmeric’s flavor enhancing characteristics become more popular. It has been the main component of curry powder and is also highly used as a green-tea additive.
In addition to being used in many Indian dishes, it is used in golden milk. Golden milk functions as a sleep-aid and was a viral social media sensation a couple years ago. Just take a look at the picture and you’ll understand why it catches instant attention in Instagram feeds.
Here is yet another probiotic, fermented beverage but this time with origins in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. The beverage is made of cow milk with kefir grains mixed into it.
The microorganisms in kefir grains ferment the milk sugars, turning it into kefir. Since the milk lactose is converted into lactic acid, kefir emits a slightly sour taste. After the fermentation process is finished, the grains can be removed and reused to make another batch.
If a restaurant offers this increasingly popular beverage, they can accommodate more diners with dairy free options. Coco water and coco milk are often used as substitutes for cowmilk.
Sharing Indian origins and sleep benefits of golden milk, is moon milk.
Moon milk contains nutmeg which functions as a sleep aid and also has ashwagandha, an adaptogen that helps the body deal with stress. Like golden milk, these ingredients are added into warm milk. Finally it is seasoned with pepper and stirred with coconut oil.
Just like golden milk, moon milk is sought out as a sleep-aide but can also double down as an anti-oxidant when turmeric is added into it.
If you listen to the radio in the car you’ve probably heard of advertisements for organic sorghum cereal.
This plant-based, ancient grain is consists of 40% of diets in certain parts of the world but has been increasing in popularity in the U.S. It has been used in the South but mostly used for feeding livestock.
In addition to being plant-based, it can also be marketed as gluten-free. Packed with protein and characterized as a complex carb, it is a great accommodation for diners who live the fitness lifestyle. It is also rich in fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and niacin.
It’s use goes beyond cereals as an additive to soup, oatmeal, and desserts. Holeman & Finch Public House in Atlanta serves sorghum cake.
As veganism and vegetarianism becomes more popular, why not diversify with some plants of the sea? Seaweed has been widely named as a food trend and has even been considered the “hottest trend in 2020” by Prepared Foods.
It has functional health benefits to the thyroid, digestive system, and is an anti-oxidant. Additionally it is rich in calcium and vitamin B-12.
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