Mood foods to continue emergence in 2009

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 22nd January 2009

As today’s ageing population spends increasing amounts on prevention rather than cures, the market for mood-enhancing foods will continue to experience healthy growth rates, according to the latest research from worldwide consulting and research firm Kline & Company.

While the functional foods industry has so far focused mainly on physical benefits and health claims, mood, emotional, and cognitive health claims are emerging to form an important new market segment, according to Kline’s FlashPoint report titled Mood-Enhancing Foods and Beverages: The “Fun” in Functional Foods.

Where functional foods and beverages are broadly defined as fortified and enhanced products that offer additional health benefits beyond nutrition, “mood foods” are products that claim to uplift mood, boost mental health, or improve cognitive functions by stimulating brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

Mood foods compete directly with a number of dietary supplements that make claims of stress and anxiety reduction and mood enhancement. However, the supplements market contains a plethora of products with unsubstantiated claims and dubious ingredients. Mood foods that are able to furnish scientifically-based, proven claims of efficacy are more likely to realise commercial success.

“Increased consumer demand, the rising incidence of heart disease, a need for cost-effective treatment options, and aging populations worldwide are expected to drive the global markets for functional foods over the next five years,” Laura Mahecha, healthcare industry manager at Kline, indicated.

A number of market research companies have begun to pick up the “mood” trend, as manufacturers look for ways to extend interest in ‘health and wellness’ beyond the usual domain of improving the nutritional profile. Market and consumer intelligence firm Mintel recently included the trend amongst their top 5 to watch in 2009, while the Center for Culinary Development noted it was an emerging trend that had the potential to capture substantial interest and support from a diverse range of consumers.