Health and wellness trends have significant impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors when shopping for food and beverages, according to “Breakfast: Retail Product Trends and Opportunities in the U.S., 2nd Edition,” released by Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. The dilemma is that health is a subjective term. This means there is a range of desired product attributes that consumers seek out to fit within their perspective of what’s healthy.

While low calorie and low carb were at one time benchmarks for health food, attention has shifted to a greater focus on low/no sugar or low/no added sugars.

Health trends are moving away from being diet-focused in favor of adopting a healthy lifestyle. With increased knowledge of food sourcing and manufacturing practices, there’s an increased focus on foods that are fresh, naturally produced and locally sourced foods.

For the U.S. breakfast market, health-focused innovation is quite prevalent in the grocery aisle. Industry players are doing their part in addressing health trends through new product development of better-for-you breakfast. Buzzwords that fit under the better-for-you umbrella are “organic,” “natural,” “whole grain” and “non-GMO,” among others.

Indeed, with 37% participation among all adults based on survey data, “all-natural” is the most sought out dietary lifestyle characteristic when buying food and beverages, followed by non-GMO (31%) and organic (28%).

“Free-from” claims have become an important way marketers address specific health interests. Diet trends and select health lifestyle choices encourage consumers to seek out products that eliminate corn, nut, dairy and gluten. Further, vegan claims have gained traction in an attempt to capture part of the health halo and lifestyle preferences.

“Increasingly, many Americans are subscribing to a dietary lifestyle that eliminates gluten, dairy and other allergens. Or, they are adopting vegetarianism or veganism as ways to approach health. These characteristics suggest an overall healthy approach to one’s diet,” says David Sprinkle, research director. “Ultimately, finding future success in the breakfast market will require greater innovation that combines consumer focus on healthier food options with their need for portability and on-the-go breakfast products.”