Targeted Functional Foods: Digestion, Brain Health and Beauty

The demographics don’t really matter. Every demographic from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials, Gen Z and even what Millennial parents feed their toddlers are craving functional foods. Baby boomers want to age gracefully, Gen Xers want to hold on to their youth, Millennials and Gen Z have been surrounded by organic, sustainable and functionally benefiting products their whole life. All these generations continue to seek food and beverage products to benefit their health.

For the past few years, food manufacturers have been delivering on these desires through simplifying and identifying ingredients in food and beverage products. Functional food is really nothing new. The true definition of functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition and those foods have been around for a while.

Now that consumers have caught on to the fact that many of the products purchased provide them with some nutritional value, the real question is, what’s next in functional food and beverage?

The answer is, targeted function that still tastes great.

Consumers are now seeking products that provide them with specific health benefits. From digestion to beauty, the following are the latest innovative products focused on targeted function.


According to Transparency Market Research, the global digestive health products market is forecasted to grow from $68.8 billion in 2017 to $83.5 billion by 2022. What was once a category dominated by fiber and probiotic ingredients is now seeing prebiotics and fermented foods making inroads. Activia US first introduced Americans to probiotics in 1987 and has continued to grow with consumers’ focus on gut health. The brand recently boosted its Activia Probiotic Dailies yogurt range with two new flavors featuring prebiotic fiber, honey ginger and lemon ginger. The Coca-Cola Company recently unveiled Odwalla Smoobucha, an RTD product with pasteurized kombucha known to aid in digestive health. Rowdy Bars offers a line of snack bars made with yacon root, a prebiotic fiber. The latest addition to the lineup is a sunflower butter and berries variety. Earnest Eats Pro Toasty is a toaster pastry featuring protein and probiotics, bringing gut health into a new and innovative product offering. Flavors include chocolate, maple and strawberry vanilla.

Brain Health

While gut health has had the spotlight for a while, brain health is emerging and has already shown strong penetration. According to Research and Markets, the Global Brain Health market was valued at 2.3 billion in 2015, and is expected to reach 11.6 billion by 2024, increasing 19.6% from 2016 to 2024. Evidence shows that the foods consumers eat can have a big impact on the health of their brains. Sahale Snacks has a wide variety of all-natural nuts and fruit mixes. Nuts are a great source of Vitamin E and have been shown to prevent mental decline. Nootropic beverages, such as Kois, claim to give consumers a brain boost. The beverage blends botanicals and vitamins that are evidenced to improve focus. IQ Bars are the only bars on the market that contain Lion’s Mane which is noted to stimulate healthy nerves and neurons, promoting cognitive function while fighting neurodegenerative disease. Each bar also contains six nutrients that boost brain function including Omega-3 fats, flavonoids and magnesium. Fruigees features a carrot orange fruit pouch. Carrots are not only good for the eyes, but they also contain luteolin, a compound that reduced age-related memory deficits and inflammation in the brain.


According to CB Insights, foods that promise beauty benefits are on the rise. As consumer demand spikes, expect more food brands and retailers to enter the ingestible beauty space. Already popular in supplements and sports nutrition products, collagen is appearing in packaged snacks and beverages for grab-and-go consumption. At Natural Products Expo West, Vital Proteins unveiled a line of Collagen Water, made with fruit juice and containing collagen to support healthy hair, skin, bones and joints. Purely Elizabeth, recently launched Collagen Protein Oat Cups combining grass-fed collagen, nuts and seeds with organic oats, coconut sugar, coconut oil, quinoa and amaranth. Medlie began incorporating collagen into its drinkable soup products and launched a kale avocado soup with collagen last May.  Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars are formulated with marine collagen specifically blended with sweet potatoes and yacon syrup to provide naturally occurring antioxidants and vitamins for optimal collagen absorption and retention.

In the end, no matter what targeted functional ingredients you are adding to your products, consumers will not buy it unless it tastes great. That’s where we can help!

Flavorchem specializes in taste solutions to mask unwanted off notes of functional ingredients. We offer a wide array of flavors to enhance products in all food and beverage categories.

Contact us today to create a custom flavor for you!