The global pandemic has changed all aspects of normal living, and ushered in an era where health and wellness are paramount decision drivers for the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to food and beverage choices.
The 2021 Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey, with 1,165 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) responding, provides an in-depth look at how dietitians believe consumers' diets have changed due to COVID-19.
Among the findings: Green tea is taking the spotlight.
"A year full of staying home and cooking more has influenced consumers to rethink their food and nutrition choices,” said Louise Pollock, president of Pollock Communications. “In 2020, the food and beverage industry saw sales increases in products like green tea, as well as renewed attention on comforting, tried and true foods like dairy milk and healthy, fermented foods like yogurt. The plant-forward trend continues to grow, as does demand for clean labels. Our trends survey findings reflect these significant changes caused by COVID-19 that will continue to affect eating habits and the food industry for years to come."
Green Tea Is Garnering Attention
The health revolution has exploded as a result of the pandemic, with the top findings for 2021 revealing a focus on foods that support immunity and provide comfort, as well as a major shift in snacking habits. As a result, the tea industry should focus more on wellness and educating consumers about the health benefits of tea.
Changes to the top 10 superfoods list also indicate a move toward foods that are plant-forward and support health, with green tea, a natural anti-inflammatory beverage, jumping from No. 10 last year to the No. 3 spot this year.
According to the survey, RDNs forecast consumers will be on the hunt for natural, clean labels and ingredients such as cannabidiol (CBD), collagen and hemp. Here's a look at the full results.
COVID-19 Transformed Consumers Habits
Because of the pandemic, 78 percent of RDNs believe that consumer eating habits are shifting away from the traditional three-meals a day to more frequent snacking. In addition, with anxiety about health, wellness and the challenging economy looming in consumers' minds, RDNs predict the top purchase drivers of 2021 will be beverages and foods that:
- Areaffordable and value-based
- Promotecomfort and emotional well-being
Top 10 Superfoods for 2021
With COVID-19 accelerating the healthy food revolution, foods and beverages with strong health and wellness benefits, sometimes referred to as "superfoods," have become dominant in consumer choices to help support immunity.
From boosting gut health with fermented foods to reaping the benefits of antioxidants with blueberries and blunting inflammation with green tea, here are the top 10 superfoods that RDNs predict consumers will be seeking in 2021:
Top 5 Nutrition Recommendations from RDNs
Of note: Consistent with previous years, the 2021 survey showed that social media, friends/family, and celebrities remain the top sources of nutrition misinformation for consumers. And nutrition experts continue to stand by the tried-and-true health and wellness eating and drinking tips for 2021, such as limiting foods with "added sugars" and choosing non-caloric drinks, like unsweetened tea.
"We are witnessing unprecedented times in the world of nutrition, health and wellness," says Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian. "As the world grapples with how to best manage health and longevity, consumer awareness of beneficial diets and ingredients is growing, and they will be looking to RDNs and the food industry to help navigate these shifting needs."
For more information, visit lpollockpr.com/health-nutrition-trends.