The health and wellness trend is on the rise. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, 79% of respondents across six countries believe that wellness is important, with 42% considering it a top priority.
The management consultancy estimates the global wellness market to be worth more than $1.6trn, with annual growth of 5-10%.
Alon Chen, CEO and co-founder of Tastewise, believes the COVID pandemic played a significant role in propelling this trend. “During COVID, people became a lot more conscious about their health and wellness…” At the same time, increased use of different social media platforms means that consumers have greater access to health and wellness-related content.
But consumers are not interested in general health alone, he suggested, citing data from Tastewise – a platform that analyses restaurant and delivery menus, social media interactions and home recipes online to help food and beverage innovators find opportunities on the market.
“They’re talking about their bloating and gut and about cleansing and detoxing. They’re talking about carb-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free.”
This presents an opportunity for industry, Chen told us. “It’s a great time for the food industry to adjust product lines…and to reposition existing products for the different ingredients and experiences people need.”
Nick ‘The Pickles Man’ Vadasz has already positioned his brand in this way. But Vadasz, whose company (also called Vadasz) is now part of the Compleat Food Group, did not approach kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles completely through this lens.
“I started fermenting food and making pickles purely from a chef’s point of view. I wanted to make great products that tasted really good. The bonus is that it turns out they’re really healthy and good for you.”
Nowadays, Vadasz believes kimchi and fermented foods have entered the mainstream. “It’s through the door and it’s shut it behind it. It’s in the mainstream. We’ve had such an increase in consumer awareness,” he told FoodNavigator.
“I think that’s due to people like Tim Spector, whose ZOE project [which aims to understand how food affects the body by analysing gut, blood fat, and blood sugar responses] is really driving new research into the associated benefits of the gut microbiome and relationship with what food you eat.”
While Vadasz is catering to the mainstream retail market, over in Germany a food and nutrition start-up is championing holistic nutrition with a particular consumer base in mind.
Ole Schaumberg is CEO and founder of Just Legends, a a start-up that caters to gamers and professional e-sport athletes with snacks and supplements that help support energy levels as well as sleep and recovery.
“Sleep and recovery was one of the most fascinating topics for us over the last three years since we started the company, because there was no benchmark out there,” he recalled. “Nowadays, when you launch a product, there is always someone who did it before you. But we were the first gaming nutrition brand to tackle the topic of sleep.”
The company combines magnesium with melatonin and vitamins, as well as other ‘superfoods’ such as ginseng extract and passionflower, to cater to its target market.
“Holistic nutrition really stands for the connection of body, mind and soul. Physical health and mental health are deeply connected,” he told this publication. “We create products that are healthy…but we also combine them with functional ingredients and specific B vitamins for the mind. And then a great taste and overall experience for the customer – that’s more for the soul.”