Food that makes us better: Three food and beverage trends which focus on self-optimisation

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For years self-optimisation has been a major topic within the beauty, fashion and sports industries and is now as well catching up with the food and beverage industry.

Food these days should not only satisfy our basic needs but also be fresh, local, sustainable and tasty. It also needs to provide us with health benefits beyond the essential nutrients such as vitamins or minerals.

We optimise and maximise our body efficiency and health by consciously choosing and adjusting our nutrition. By carefully selecting what we eat, we are taking a more proactive approach to our bodies aiming to become the best version of ourselves. This trend is currently influencing and steering the food and beverage industry. In order to help consumers support their bodies with optimal nutrition, companies introduce innovative products to the F&B market.

Here are three food and beverage concepts we will be seeing a lot in 2019.

Collagen-infused food and drinks, the latest trend in "beauty foods"

Food and beverage companies have recently moved collagen from the cosmetic aisle over to the superfood aisle. The increasing popularity of collagen-infused foods is driven by its positive perception among consumers, as collagen stands for an effective way of wrinkle reduction and beauty enhancement.

Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the human body that forms the basic structure of our skin. Different collagen fibres work with each other and stretch the skin. When we are young, this collagen structure of the skin is very firm and flexible. However, due to ageing, sunlight and chemical actions (i.e. oxidative stress) collagen production decreases and connections between the fibres weaken. As a result, skin becomes more wrinkled and the joints less stable.

Having recognised this potential, companies and start-ups started introducing collagen-infused snack bars, powders, coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, juices, water and bottled soups. Even alcoholic beverages are infused with collagen. The products not only deliver an extra amount of protein skin booster but are also supposed to soothe achy joints and improve our energy.

CBD-infused products, a health booster

I believe, everyone has already seen or heard of cannabis-infused products that are currently swamping the food and beverage market. Why did they become so trendy?

Hemp seeds and hemp oil have already been around for centuries but all of a sudden these products turned into the latest food hype. It seems that it started with the discussion about the legalisation of medical marijuana and the increasing demand for functional foods with health benefits, that shifted consumers' interest and readiness to try out cannabis-based products.

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When talking about cannabis-infused products, we are referring to products with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive Hemp and marijuana are two varieties of the same plant Cannabis sativa that are very different in a number of ways.

Hemp contains a negligible amount of 0.3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) which is the intoxicating substance in marijuana. Marijuana, on the other hand, can contain up to 30% THC. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and seems to have several health benefits, making CBD oils and seeds attractive as a functional ingredient.

CBD has numerous therapeutic benefits: it relieves pain, reduces anxiety and depression, alleviates cancer-related symptoms, reduces inflammatory diseases, has a positive impact on neurological disorders, prevents heart diseases and diabetes. Why wouldn't we enrich our food and drinks with CBD to get all of those?

Companies and start-ups recognised the potential of hemp within the food and beverage industry and are adding it everywhere: from non-alcoholic, alcoholic and hot beverages to snacks, powders and candies. Even big players such as Coca-Cola are considering to dip into the cannabis-infused drink market.

Adaptogens and nootropics: enhancing our cognitive physiological functions

We have heard a lot about adaptogens as everyone seemed to talk about them in 2018. We could spot them as mushrooms in our coffee or as coloured latte variations and it felt like every new functional food had something to do with it. But what are they exactly and how do we profit from adaptogens and nootropics?

    These days the terms adaptogens and nootropics are used somewhat interchangeably but strictly though, adaptogens are compounds (often herbs) that help the body adapt to stress and restore normal physiological functioning whereas nootropics are compounds that enhance the cognitive function by increasing the blood circulation and oxygen flow to the brain and at the same time providing us with important nutrients.

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    Even though a lot of functional foods have been named adaptogens and nootropics, there are only several that are officially classified as such a have a proven positive impact. On our illustrations you can see the most popular nootropics and adaptogens that also explain the rise of some food and beverage trends.

    About the author

    About Linda-Maria Acevedo (img_0294-3.jpg)

    Linda-Maria Acevedo
    Project Manager Market Intelligence at

    Linda-Maria Acevedo has gained 7 years of operational experience in the hotel and F&B industry while working for Kempinski. She graduated from EHL with a Bachelor degree in Hospitality Management. Linda-Maria also worked for the METRO chair of Innovation at EHL setting up the Market Intelligence Platform for online food trend tracking.

    In January 2017 Linda-Maria Acevedo joined to further engage in the Trend Scouting topic and integrate it into METRO operations.

    The NX-Food visual branding and website are developed by dombek—bolay and Naasner Office, in close collaboration with the NX-Food team.