Kerry Ingredients, Beloit, Wis., released a report that identifies functional ingredient trends, innovations and reformulation opportunities.

Utilizing an online survey in partnership with BrandIQ, Los Angeles, the report, “Proactive Health: Consumer Demand for Functional Benefits,” uncovered unique insights into specific functional benefits and consumer-preferred functional ingredients.

The survey included about 1,000 U.S. consumers who are health conscious, read nutritional labels and consider ingredients when purchasing products.

The research found that consumers are now turning to food and beverages as the first line of defense for their health – with specific ingredients gaining “superfood” status because they are perceived to deliver specific functional benefits. The report also provides details on consumer health priorities, the role of added functionality and the perception of 85 unique ingredients corresponding to a consumer-perceived functional benefit.

“Consumer focus on food and beverages to lead a healthier lifestyle has grown dramatically,” says Soumya Nair, director of market insights for Kerry North America. “They want to future-proof themselves from short as well as long-term health concerns, with 69% of health-conscious U.S. adults saying they are proactive with their health. Beyond weight management concerns, busy lifestyles have led concerns with stress, energy, sleep and gut health to rise up to the top of the list.”

“Specific ingredients such as ginger, apple cider vinegar and probiotics are associated strongly with gut health, while coffee, green tea, green coffee bean and ginger are perceived as functional ingredients for energy support,” adds Nair. “Our research unlocks these critical associations consumers make between functional benefits and functional ingredients that are key to developing future-focused functional products.”