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5 Ingredients to Soothe the Autumn Blues

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5 Ingredients to Soothe the Autumn Blues

August 31st, 2020
2 min read

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Autumn is around the corner - where has the time gone? With kids on their way back to school (or school Zoom), we’ve reached the time of the “end-of-summer blues” - that infamous time of low energy and high anxiety. 2020 has thrown a lot at us - but summer functional foods are here to save the day.

Everyone has so much on their plate.

Autumn is around the corner - where has the time gone? With kids on their way back to school (or school Zoom), we’ve reached the time of the “end-of-summer blues” - that infamous time of low energy and high anxiety. 2020 has thrown a lot at us - but summer functional foods are here to save the day. 

What is a ‘functional food’? An ingredient or dish that provides value beyond sating hunger or basic nutritional needs; think ginger ale for a stomach ache, or turmeric for immunity. Functional foods are on the rise generally (50% of all conversations about food mention their functionality!), and consumers are turning towards food and beverage for that extra dose of late-summer soothe. 

Want to read our June, 2020 report on functional foods? Download it for free, here.

Popular interest in food and beverage to relieve anxiety is up 65% more than last year, while foods that provide general comfort are up 61% in popularity YoY. Immunity, the primary motivation behind functional foods for months at the start of the pandemic, has taken a nosedive - consumers are 5x less interested in immunity now than they were in April/May, and interested in immunity took a -12% hit between June and July. As consumers have settled into a pandemic mindset and the threat of coronavirus is no longer new, anxiety-relief is now top-of-mind. It’s a great reminder that what was true at the start of the pandemic is no longer - and the food and beverage industry needs to adapt to this fast-changing “new normal”. 

If everyone's stressed, what can food & beverage brands do about it? 

How can food and beverage brands meet their stressed out consumers’ needs most effectively? By understanding which ingredients, dishes, and drinks consumers turn to this month for relief. Here are a few insights into the food that combat consumers’ August anxiety. 

  • Bitters: Up 63% YoY in consumer use at home for curbing anxiety; consider offering cocktails that feature anxiety-reducing ingredients. 
  • Squash: Up 46% YoY in at-home consumer use for anxiety relief; summer is squash season, and consumers are enjoying getting outside to farmers markets. What products could pair well with a locally-sourced squash soup? Bonus: consumer interest in squash for anxiety is up 605% YoY at restaurants and farmers markets - keep your finger on the pulse of this trend in the final weeks of summer. 
  • Mint: the summer herb is up 45% YoY in consumer use at home. The leaves are incredibly versatile across dishes, and pair well with other functional ingredients in drinks. Anxiety-busting grapefruit and mint spritzer, anyone? 
  • Tea: the cozy beverage is up 25% YoY in at-home use for anti-anxiety needs, yet is down 24% YoY at restaurants. Tea is likely a better fit for at home use, due to home-bound routines, the impracticality of delivery, and the times of day for use (tea is up 58% YoY as an after dinner drink, and has seen sharp increase in popularity since the start of the pandemic) . 
  • Seltzer: The bubbly drink is up 28% YoY in at-home use, and 252% at restaurants, for anxiety relief. Last year’s alcoholic seltzer trend quickly came to stay; this summer sees the refreshing qualities of seltzer combine with functional ingredients to kick anxiety to the curb. 
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