Trends for 2023: Caring for mental, physical and sexual health

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Galeanu Mihai
Getty | Galeanu Mihai

Related tags Trends predictions

A sense of overwhelm shapes Mintel’s predicted food and drink trends for 2023 following climate and economic fears, yet “consumers are absolutely unwilling to compromise on health and nutrition”, the market analysts say.

Whilst value for money remains an underlying current determining consumers’ buying habits, the importance of health has persisted as an overshadowing factor, Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, revealed during a talk at Food Ingredients Europe in Paris earlier this month.

From seeking fibre for fullness to prioritising healthy and natural ingredients, consumers are increasingly looking to nurture their mental and sexual health as well as their physical health; trends resulting from an apparent permanent shift in mindset following Covid-19.

Beckett introduced the talk by highlighting two key events that Mintel predicts will be shaping what consumers will eat and drink in the future. These include the recent COP27 climate summit in Egypt, whereby a roadmap for an improved global food system was announced, as well as the launching of NASA’s Artemix 1 rocket mirroring the beginning of a mission to achieve human habitation on the moon by 2030.  He emphasises the significance of these events in shaping “how we source food, how we appreciate food, and how we market food”.

Mintel has categorised established trends into those that should be currently recognised, such as consumer demands for affordability and nutrition in response to the cost-of-living crisis, those that should be addressed with urgency resulting from the climate crisis, and those to offer pleasure and escapism in the face of these current crises.

Finding fullness with fibre

With regards to the current economic crisis, a trend highlighted by Mintel bridges the gap between increased consumer nutritional knowledge and value for money.

“Money is tight right now. Affordability is crucial.

“Feeling full has become a value-indicator. The problem is, that here in Europe, it is very challenging to make satiety claims because of EFSA. But brands are leveraging the consumer awareness between high fibre and feeling full”. ​Beckett explains, drawing attention to the fact that 52% of German adults say food that is high in fibre keeps you fuller for longer.

Therefore, satiety and positive nutrition will increase as value-for-money indicators, suggesting success for businesses leveraging these ingredients in their products.

Clever caffeine

A further Mintel trend highlights that energy needs have extended beyond simple caffeinated drinks such as coffee and popular energy drinks, with Beckett quoting that 33% of coffee drinkers express concerns about the impact of caffeine on their emotional wellbeing. This figure rises to a significant 50% of 15–34-year-olds.

Consumers need energy right now, but not just physical energy, cognitive support is crucial.

“Because of Covid-19, consumers have become much more aware of the link between caffeine, stimulants, and their own mental wellness.” ​Beckett emphasises, drawing attention to an increased need for support in feeling focused, productive and in control.

As a result, new products are starting to emerge onto the market with moderated caffeine and plant-based foods to provide cognitive support. One such product includes the energy drink Rambler, which utilises the natural caffeine source of Youpon; North America’s only native naturally caffeinated plant. “With 30% less caffeine than coffee, it grows abundantly in arid soil but can also flourish in sea water”, ​Beckett adds.

“This is an ingredient to watch.”, ​he stresses.

Communication to connect

As a result of the general sense of overwhelm amongst consumers, as well as a growing distrust amongst a more “cynical” generation stepping into adulthood, Mintel has reported a need for simple and clear product communication.

There are so many health claims and more busy messages appearing on packaging and that is turning off consumers… even making them distrust.

“34% of German consumers consider products that make a lot of health claims to be less trustworthy than those that claim only a few specific benefits, rising to 46% of 16-34s,” ​Beckett states, further emphasising the need for minimalist messaging especially if the immediate effects of the product cannot be felt.

“This is especially important for some of these cognitive ingredients coming through, like nootropics.”.

Aphrodisiacal botanicals

A final trend regards the increasing openness and awareness surrounding matters of sexual health, extending beyond the aging population and into younger generations.

Beckett explains this trend, explaining that “sexual taboos in 2022 are continuing to dissipate. People are happier to make healthy and empowered choices about their sex lives​”.

As a result, there are predictions for substantial interest in the future demand for botanical-based aphrodisiacs. Mintel spotlights ingredients such as maca, damiana and red ginseng, with significant interest noted among Gen Z.

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