Emergent Functional Foods Are Flooding the Market

functional foods

Cereal, by most conventions, is a breakfast food. Yes, cereal can also make a great snack, and has been snackified for decades as a familiar and kids-friendly alternative to vegetables and other foods with more tangible (though less saleable) benefits.

Not anymore. Post Consumer Brands recently launched its Sweet Dreams cereal, a cereal explicitly designed to be eaten before bedtime. The two flavors of Sweet Dreams—Blueberry Midnight and Honey Moonglow—are designed with vitamins, minerals, and a herbal blend to promote natural melatonin production, lending a whole new aspect to the idea of a kid-friendly nightcap.

Functional foods, in other words, are changing the grocery and retail game in once unimaginable ways.

Power Up with Protein Water

“The pandemic changed peoples’ attitudes to what they consume and the functional requirements of food and beverages,” said Tim Xenos, founder and CEO of BevPax, “a world-class beverage innovator and private label specialist” per the website. BevPax products are loaded with protein, prebiotics, probiotics, ferments, collagen, and yes, good old-fashioned vitamins.

BevPax produces several lines of functional drinks for performance, refreshment, functional, and a line of bottled tea and coffee as well. Coconut and aloe sparkling waters and sodas abound, loaded with natural waters and/or juices from the respective plants along with sugar-free options as well.

“We can see a trend toward water-based beverages with electrolytes which provide a healthier drink alternative,” Xenos told The Food Institute, as “The market is exceeding expectations and sales are growing in this area.”

Another line from BevPax, ROCKIT, is protein water infused with whey protein isolate, acting as a natural hunger suppressant, low in calories and with zero added sugar.

Rethinking the Chickpea

“Consumers are looking for affordable and sustainable options,” said Raveez Mohammed, co-founder and CEO of Festive Foods, to The Food Institute. “We’re noticing that consumers want to explore familiar favorites that are elevated experiences of the familiar.”

Festive’s focus is on chickpeas. “There simply isn’t anything comparable in the market,” he said. “Our Chickpeas are revolutionary because we’ve taken the unpleasant husk out and created the perfect crunchy texture with familiar tastes like Sour Cream & Onion, Honey BBQ, and Ranch, and elevated them to suit virtually any lifestyle in a convenient, grab and go package.”

Like many better-for-you brands, Festive has enjoyed a bit of a sales boon since the pandemic as consumers learn more about the foods around them, their bodies, and themselves.

“The ‘Good for you category’ continues to grow as consumers pay closer attention to ingredients and macros,” he continued. “Our goal is to balance on the line between providing a great taste that customers expect along with the health, lifestyle and macro requirements that they need.”

Ditch the Pills

Functional foods aren’t just limited to water and vegetables. Ruth Elnekave is the founder and CEO of JOYA, a superblend supplement company that creates chef-crafted supplements with names like Calm, Focus, and Restore, as well as a line of newly launched functional chocolates.

After a career in corporate law left her health deteriorating, Elnekave became a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and founded JOYA based on her personal experience. She says her superblend products are 100% pure botanicals holistically formulated to work together without sweeteners, fillers, or other “junk.”

“We’re the first chef-crafted brand in the category, replacing pills and products that taste medicinal or are filled with sweeteners and processed ingredients with 100% pure, craveworthy functional foods and supplements,” Elnekave told The Food Institute.

“Our products feature the most revered adaptogens, mushrooms and other functional herbs on the planet.”

The functional superblends are designed to be one-scoop replacements for more conventional boosters added to lattes, smoothies, breakfast bowls, etc.

JOYA recently launched vegan- and paleo-friendly functional chocolates using low-sugar coconut sugar, ethically sourced cacao. “These craft chocolate bars are nutritious and also deliver the functional boost you need each day: focus, calm, immune support and stress support. With these bars, customers no longer have to give up indulgence in their pursuit of health.”

The Food Institute Podcast

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