Adequate nutrients can help strike the balance for living a healthy life, especially when they can be found in foods and drinks that combine healthiness with practicality and convenience.
One of the biggest challenges of modern life in large urban centers is maintaining balanced. Adopting a healthy routine provides more energy and wellness. In addition, anxiety levels decrease considerably, reducing various physical and psychological problems, such as fatigue, indisposition, and stress.
Food can be one of the greatest allies to find this balance in a solid and long-lasting way. Data show that one in three Brazilians eats at least five quick meals away from home throughout the week. The tendency is that lunch or dinner – sometimes both – become snacks consumed while performing other tasks.
The relationship between food and stress
According to the 2022 Food and Health Survey released by the International Council on Food Information, stress is very common. People are looking to feed themselves to help cope with stress, depression, and fatigue.
Searches for the term “mood-boosting foods” grew 50% year-over-year (1,600 searches in March 2021 versus 2,400 in the same period of 2022), according to Pi-Datametrics. Terms like “good mood foods,” “best vitamin for anxiety,” and “best supplements for anxiety” are among the most popular on the internet.
Drinks that advertise mental health benefits are more common than foods, likely due to associating calm with options like tea. However, one-third of consumers have shown an interest in healthy foods that offer emotional wellness benefits, such as anxiety relief.
When you have a busy routine, it is important to invest in focus, memory, and creativity to fulfill all day-to-day obligations. At the same time, stress must be avoided. This equation is fundamental to overall wellness and certain nutrients act exactly on brain health, helping the body to stay alert.
Ready-to-eat foods as an option for intense routines
There are many foods that can contribute to reducing stress, improving focus, concentration, and anxiety relief. Ready-to-eat (RTE) foods end up being the first solution when it comes to balancing routines.
The global ready-to-eat food market is projected to record a 4.89% growth rate during the 2022-2027 forecast period. The RTE industries have become one of the few to see a significant increase in demand during the Covid pandemic.
Growth is driven by the pursuit of convenience in terms of saving time and less effort to prepare meals – which is highly valued by generations Y and Z. With this growing demand, manufacturers are focused on developing innovative products to capture and conquer large market shares.
In 2020, Freshly Inc., a food delivery service acquired by Nestlé, launched a new product portfolio for consumers “who seek to take charge of their health and nurture active lifestyles”.
The RTE food market is typically segmented into:
- Breakfast cereals;
- Instant soups and noodles;
- Bakery and confectionery products.
It is worth noting that due to the practicality and ease of preparation, the meal segment is the one with the highest growth forecast.
Marks & Spencer Food has become one of the leading food retailers in the UK by launching a range of ready-made meals with the Halal seal. Consumers can choose up to six Halal Food Authority-certified RTE meals, available at 36 M&S stores.
With the growth of the market, it is already possible to find products that meet the most diverse needs of consumers. Here are some examples:
A report by Euromonitor International reported that 44% of urban millennials skip breakfast due to the number of daily tasks. To meet this demand, several brands are looking for solutions for a more convenient way to have this meal, such as Kellogg's. In 2022, the company launched “instabowls”, which are small bowls with cereal and powdered milk. When you add cold water and stir, the milk is rehydrated and voilà: you have instant milk with cereals that can go with you everywhere. To make this possible, the brand uses a trademarked process to ensure the milk is optimally diluted.
Love beets (USA)
Love beets (USA) - Thinking about facilitating the consumption of vegetables, Love Beet's Sweet Chili Perfectly Pickled beets are peeled, cooked, sliced and are available in a package that can be resealed for convenience. In addition, they are seasoned, making pickled beets ideal for enjoying as a snack, side dish or to add to salads and sandwiches.
Mindright (USA) - Launched in 2021, Mindright was born with the purpose of improving mood, energy and focus through adaptogens. With this, it launched its first “Good Mood Superfood Snack Bar” product, which are healthy bars (gluten-free, vegan, protein-rich and non-GMO) made with adaptogens and nootropics. Happy Brain Blend offers a blend of Ashwagandha, Ginseng, MCT and Cordyceps. When combined, all these active ingredients help control stress, support cognitive function, and maintain energy and focus. Recently, in 2022, the brand launched the world's first nootropic potato. French fries are made with the brand's unique nootropic blend, which contains ginseng, lion's mane and L-theanine, plus vitamins B6, B12 and antioxidants that benefit energy, mood and focus.
Btein (EUA) - Btein Bars has combined the holistic approach of Ayurveda - one of the world's oldest healing systems - with Western nutritional science to create an energetic snack that balances mind, body and spirit. They are gluten-free bars that have natural low-glycemic sugars from coconut nectar, 20g high quality protein and Ashwagandha, a medicinal herb that improves focus, relieves stress and anxiety.
Nuccy (UK) - Nuccy is the UK's first line of adaptogenic nut butters. The brand combines vegan pastes with organic ingredients and ashwagandha , a powerful adaptogen that has several benefits, such as helping to combat the physical and emotional response to stress. This combination is perfect, since when combined with nuts, adaptogens can be more easily absorbed. The pastes are available in Almond Coco, Peanut Coco and Hazel Coco flavors and the newly launched, chocolate and hazelnut flavor and Ultimate Choco Flow (limited edition).
Machu Picchu Energy (USA)
Machu Picchu Energy (USA) - With natural organic caffeine, extracted from green coffee, the energy drink Machu Picchu was developed with natural flavors, without additives and preservatives, low calorie, fortified with vitamins and minerals; a reflection of the brand's positioning of creating beverages with organic flavor to give energy and focus.
PURE NORTH (CANADA)
PURE NORTH (CANADA) - Energy Beverages' plant-based energy drink has a high caffeine concentration from natural sources to temporarily increase alertness, concentration and reduce fatigue. In addition, it is free of sugar, sweeteners, calories, GMOs and gluten.
Mushroom Cups (Croatia)
Mushroom Cups (Croatia) - Mushroom Cups mix mushrooms, a superfood, with organic coffee. The result is a smoother cup of coffee than standard coffee, with a host of daily benefits such as increased energy, immunity, focus and stamina. For this to happen, the brand uses different mushrooms according to the desired benefit. It is a practical, finely ground powder drink (same consistency as a chocolate powder) that dissolves easily, simply add 200 ml of hot water.
Reconciling practicality and convenience to healthy and functional food becomes increasingly important in the daily lives of people, especially those living in larger urban centers, opening opportunities for innovation for the food and beverage industries interested in meeting this growing demand.