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Report: Consumers seek beauty, immune boost in functional beverages

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A new report from Kerry identified the top health benefits consumers around the globe are seeking from beverages, as well as how much they’re willing to pay for them.

Consumers around the globe are seeking functional beverages that support their unique health needs—and they’re willing to pay more for them, per a new report from Kerry.

Kerry’s Functional Forecasting report surveyed more than 10,000 consumers in 18 countries to uncover their perceptions around fortified and functional beverages.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of consumers (96%) who purchase functional and fortified products reported they’re proactive about their health. A whopping 95% of consumers who purchase functional and fortified products said foods and beverages with extra health benefits help them achieve their health goals.

The top functional benefit consumers seek out from functional and fortified products, per the report, is skin support, which was considered important to more than half (51%) of consumers. Immune support and hair support followed, each considered important by 44% of consumers.

Other functional benefits considered important by respondents include general weight management (43%), digestive/gut health and heart health (42%), muscle recovery (39%), energy support (39%), endurance and bone health (38%).

While the top functional benefits varied across regions, products that offer beauty related functional benefits were important to consumers around the globe. Similarly, digestive/gut health ranked among the top five most important functional benefits around globe. Immune support was another top functional benefit, ranking in the top five in all regions except Latin America and India.

Importantly, functional priorities varied across age groups. Gen Z is more likely to prioritize products that support beauty and physical performance, while Millennials are apt to seek out products that support their family and children. Healthy aging was identified as a priority across all age groups.

The report also found that these health-focused consumers put extra effort into seeking out ingredients that help them achieve their health goals. The majority of functional and fortified product consumers research the ingredients contained in the products they buy. What’s more, 68% said the quality of the ingredients was the most important attribute they consider when making their purchase.

Consumers are also willing to pay more for products with a functional benefit. More than three-quarters (86%) of consumers said they were willing to pay a premium for food and beverages with functional benefits. Of those, 74% would pay above a 6% premium.

While taste is important to consumers of functional and fortified products, it’s not the most important attribute to this group. Despite that 83% of functional and fortified product consumers reported they like to try new flavors, nutrition, rather than taste, is more important to these consumers, per Kerry’s report.

Brands that demonstrate values that match those of this group of health-conscientious consumers are likely to appeal to this group. The majority (63%) said they’re more likely to buy products from companies that showcase a strong health focus across their product portfolio.

Proof of efficacy is also key to success of products in the functional and fortified space. Per the report, one-third of consumers said science-backed ingredients are important to them.

Rachel Adams joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products INSIDER, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. Adams left Informa Markets in 2019.

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