NutraIngredients’ trends for 2019 review: Editors’ predictions versus reality – Part 2

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/letterberry
©iStock/letterberry

Related tags: review, Prediction, reality

As 2019 draws to a close, NutraIngredients looks back at its editors’ predictions made at the start of the year and ask how accurate were they?

Was 2019 the breakout year for fibre and did technology and innovation play a starring role in tailoring products to individuals and responses to certain ingredients?

Here’s how the editors fared in Part 2 of this review…..

Plant-based nutrition: Vegan innovation

vegan veggie pulses protein
©iStock/

What the editors said:“2019 may be the year where we see true widespread innovation and new offerings to meet the growing number of vegetarian and vegan consumers in the market.”

“The presence of this trend signifies that food technology innovations have found ways to help plants make it into our diet in tasty, convenient ways.”

What happened in 2019?

Fears that a plant-based diet is nutritionally inadequate to keep up with an active lifestyle appeared unfounded as study findings suggested vegetarian and vegan diets that included supplements could meet the athlete’s daily nutritional requirements.

On the product innovation front, start-ups appeared to embrace the plant-based movement with firms such as Affinity Nutrition​​ launching a range of vegan-focused protein bars and flapjacks that contain 22 grams (g) (20g for flapjack) of the macronutrient.

Another start-up brand Motion Nutrition revealed a product line-up​ that included vegan and whey protein shakes and a number of sports supplements.

All contain all-natural ingredients. The recovery shake includes vegan protein, coconut electrolytes, Maqui berry (for sweetness), and Maitake mushroom (for immunity).

Lumina Intelligence​ revealed in 2019 that plant-based options such as pea and soy were gaining in popularity as more people were seeking vegan and vegetarian options.

This was the case for sports nutrition, where performance outcome differentials between animal-and plant-based proteins were often marginal.

Prediction accuracy rating: ​4 out of 5. Plant-based nutrition is an established trend which continues to guide new food and beverage development and reformulation.

Keto convenience

Coconut Oil
©iStock

What the editors said:“With wider adoption of the diet we will definitely see more shelf space dedicated to keto nutrition – as major manufacturers look to provide new products that meet growing demand.”

“One area that will be sure to provide ripe grounds for innovation is the demand for snacking and convenience – as innovators look to deliver tasty, on the go foods and drinks to the keto consumer.”

What happened in 2019?

Much like the plant-based lifestyle, Keto’s progress into the mainstream was fuelled by a selection of start-ups, which made available a number of keto-friendly products to satisfy consumer interest.

At the start of the year, nutritional goods developer Sternlife​ launched a trio of products designed to fit into the lifestyles of those following the ketogenic diet that emphasises fat intake while restricting carbs.

Mind-focused functional food and supplements brand Braineffect​​, expanded its product range during the year to offer energy bars, power ball snacks, sleep spray, CBD oil and keto diet-friendly coconut oil.

Fellow start-up Hunter and Gather Foods made the jump into the supplement space with their expanded range that included an avocado oil, collagen peptides and MCT oil, with the products available across the UK, Europe, UAE and Iceland.

The MCT coconut oil has been optimised to contain the 'good' easily digested medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acids which are said to help the body convert to burning fat for energy, aka ketosis.

Prediction accuracy rating: ​2 out of 5. Still a work in progress with much of the legwork done by start-ups eager to hit the mainstream.

Making sports nutrition appeal to senior consumers

health care elderly ageing older iStock.com TatyanaGl
©iStock/TatyanaGI

What the editors said: “The over-60s market is growing and, so too, are opportunities to market supplements and sports nutrition products to this audience.”

“And people growing into their senior years are more digitally savvy than ever, and reading online about the best ways to stay fit and healthy.”

“This is likely to be just one of a barrage of products aimed at senior shoppers with sports nutrition brands starting to look into what flavours are likely to appeal to this market.”

What happened in 2019?

The year kicked off with registered nutritionist Dr Laura Wyness commenting that while the ageing population offered opportunities for health food companies, the exact needs and wants of this audience were less clear-cut.

She points to a need for foods consumed to be nutrient-rich, with an emphasis on a few key nutrients, with an emphasis on protein to help maintain muscle mass and strength.

Wyness also suggests companies boost the eating experience with herbs and spices as well as vibrant colours and enjoyable textures in order to address the decline in sense of smell and taste.

At the NutraIngredients Sports Nutrition Summit in Amsterdam in September​ the general consensus was that sports nutrition was quickly moving into the general active lifestyle space fuelling a demand for sports nutrition products with benefits for overall well-being and anti-ageing.

“I can see the sports nutrition industry going into ongoing healthy ageing,”​ said Dr Adam Carey, Chair of ESSNA. “I think that’s going to be a really big demand with the ageing population over the next couple of decades.​”

The popularity of sports nutrition products for the elderly formed a key component of The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance’s (ESSNA) manifesto, which focused on good health for an ageing population, sport and healthy diets, safe products for consumers, and a fair business environment.

“The sports nutrition industry has grown significantly in recent years and is no longer limited to athletes and bodybuilders. It has become mainstream and a lifestyle choice for the average individual,”​ said Dr Carey.

Prediction accuracy rating: 4 out of 5. ​The future looks rosy for healthy ageing and sports nutrition - examples of cross over categories, in which challenges such as brain, bone and joint health apply to both consumer groups.

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