The superfoods market was valued at $166.80 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $274.21 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 7.36% in that timea. COVID-19 has accelerated the already thriving trend for conscious consumption, healthy eating and wellness, denying the typical lull of superfood buying interest in March and instead kept it rising with a peak in August. Google Trends data shows that within the category the most popular searches are for “best superfood” and “superfood powderb.” This reflects not only a lack of expertise within public knowledge on superfoods but also market immaturity, indicative of space to grow and educate in the years to come.
Classically, a superfood is one considered to be unexpectedly high in rarer nutrients and very dense in terms of nutrients per square inch. Attached to that are usually health claims that have often proven controversial for their voracity, given the lack of evidence. Guardian journalist Leo Benedictus wrote that “few lies can be told in one word, but ‘superfood’ manages it. It is such an appealing idea: that some foods are healthy, some unhealthy and some superhealthy. Why change your habits, when you can correct them by adding goji berries? Why settle for boring old good health, when chia seeds on your cereal can make you superhealthyc?” This is indicative of the popular, wider medical opinion that it is more important to strategize healthy plates of food within a holistically healthy diet than attempt to cure ailments with one food type.
The European Food Safety Authority reviewed evidence of one of the most popular superfood benefit claims, antioxidants, earlier last decade and found no actual benefit to health (if the rest of your diet is balanced). In reference to the most touted antioxidant food, blueberries, food science researcher Wilhelmina Kalt asserted that, “The antioxidant story has been thoroughly redressed in the last five years or so … Originally it was thought that these antioxidants really boosted one's ability to fight oxidative stress in the body,” but in fact, their low absorption rate within our digestive systems does not speak to a wider cause to be overeating blueberriesd.
That said, consumer appetite is ripe for new superfood stories, and they are not all malicious—superfoods are certainly not bad for you (if eaten in moderation, just like anything) and can support healthy eating habits and the motivation to maintain and seek out healthy lifestyles that include exercise and refraining from junk food high in salt, fat and sugar. For 2021, here are four superfoods trends that will be making an appearance in shoppers carts next year.
For the full article, please check out Perfumer & Flavorist's December 2020 issue.