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The pandemic has accelerated demand for plant-based meats and immunity-boosting products from companies such as Impossible Foods and Unilever.

Even as millions of people around the world have become ill from the coronavirus, the pandemic has simultaneously acted as a catalyst to encourage more consumers to eat healthier, with plant-based meat and immunity-boosting products (like honey) among the biggest beneficiaries.

“As people kind of start building up these new behaviors, they're looking for more,” Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership at marketing research firm IRI, told Food Dive. Consumers want “an experience around whatever it is they're adopting too, whether it's high protein, whether it's low carb, whether it's one of those specialty diets.”

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Driggs said early during the pandemic people sought products that boosted their immunity and flocked to vitamins, minerals and other healthy ingredients such as mushroom supplements and elderberry. They also sought items that helped relieve anxiety, including melatonin for a good night's sleep.

The better-for-you behavior extended even further into the home through food. While initial pantry stocking included a lot of staple items, such as rice and pasta, shoppers soon turned to fresh ingredients, like potatoes, fruits and vegetables, to incorporate into them, Driggs said. The push to eat healthier also has added momentum to trendy diets like Whole 30, keto or paleo.

As people strive to eat healthier, the behavior has moved into other aspects of their lives. New Hope found during the quarantine that consumers are spending more time walking, running, biking, doing yoga online or at-home exercise videos. Only 19% of those surveyed said they aren't doing any exercise. And Beneo, a supplier of functional ingredients derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat, estimated 75% of consumers globally said they plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic. Curated by Honey News

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