When like-minded companies come together, it beckons the collaborative spirit needed to innovate and stay on top of trending markets. That is why, at AFS, we gather our intel from working with thousands of brands each year and share what we consider to be the top trends in the natural products industry. Here are five trends that AFS believes will shape the industry in the coming years.
1) Focused Energy with Fewer Jitters
The average U.S. consumer will have around 220 mg of caffeine per day [i]. But conventional forms of caffeine can have unwanted side effects, like anxious, jittery feelings that make it hard to sit still and focus [ii]. This is because caffeine traditionally stimulates the release of epinephrine in the body (better known as adrenaline), which can produce a similar experience to our “fight or flight” response [iii]. While the sudden muscle tremors and an accelerated heartbeat may be helpful in life-threatening situations, those jittery sensations are not beneficial when studying for a college midterm or preparing a TPS report for Mr. Lumbergh (cue the Office Space Memes).
Solution: AmaTea® Max organic guayusa extract – a clinically studied ingredient for more focus and fewer jitters. Guayusa (gwhy-you-sah) is an Amazonian tea with a unique blend of caffeine and antioxidants. Current studies on AmaTea® Max show that this ingredient stimulates a significantly lower rise in epinephrine than other caffeine forms, including synthetic caffeine anhydrous [iii]. As a result, participants experienced more focus and fewer jitters. Want to try AmaTea® in your next product formula?
Request a sample: AppliedFoods.com/AmateaMax
2) Organic Immunity Moves
It may come as a surprise that most vitamins are synthetically derived. Strange considering U.S. organic sales are ascending to new heights year over year, surpassing $62 billion in sales in 2020 [iv]. Vitamins are one of the last ingredient segments to align with this trend, even though more than 70 fruits and vegetables contain nutritious levels of vitamin C that can contribute to a healthy diet. The recommended value of Vitamin C for adults is 90 mg daily [v]. Unfortunately, many natural sources are not potent or stable enough to reach those levels in most beverage applications. Thanks to ongoing efforts in ingredient discovery and new extraction techniques, companies have been working to develop vitamin C extracts derived from nature.
Solution: PurC® organic vitamin C – a water-soluble acerola extract standardized to 25% vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Acerola is one of the highest concentrations of natural vitamin C on the planet containing 70 times more vitamin C than other fruits and vegetables by weight [vi]. Meaning a little of this water-soluble 25% vitamin C extract packs a healthy punch. This innovative ingredient adds a deliciously light tart flavor with a hint of sweetness to beverages, gummies, foods, and supplements. Available in Natural and Organic.
Boost your organic vitamin C by requesting a sample: AppliedFoods.com/PurC
3) Rejuvenate, Revive, and Recover
Don’t sleep on detox. Much different from a digestive “cleanse,” our liver’s primary function is to filter and eliminate toxins at the cellular level. While many consumers are trying to live their best life, they are also aware that environmental factors and certain lifestyle choices will impact their overall health and feelings of vitality. Fortunately, our body is well equipped to eliminate toxins, and beverages can be an innovative delivery system to help enhance our body’s natural detoxification system.
Solution: Preventium® D-Glucarate – a powerful phytonutrient that helps remove harmful toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens from the body. This potent extract for cellular detoxification is one of the most well-studied and renowned ingredients for liver health. Other substantiated health benefits include balancing hormones and reducing the adverse effects of alcohol ingestion.
Request a sample: AppliedFoods.com/Preventium
4) Plant Protein: Cream of the Crop
Grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew 27% in the past year, reaching $7 billion in revenue [vii]. Perhaps even more compelling is the opportunity that arises when you bring hemp into the fold. Picture this– by 2030, the U.S. licensed acreage to grow hemp expects to increase to over 9M acres. But experts predict nearly 80% of the future hemp allocation will go towards grains (for plant-based protein), not CBD [viii]. Hemp seeds contain more protein wt/wt than almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. They also have impressive emulsification and foaming properties helpful for plant-based milk, creamers, and meal replacement beverages.
“When it comes to hemp protein, sensory characteristics have been the main impediment to its adoption in the market thus far,” reports Jackson Zapp, VP of innovation at Applied Food Sciences (AFS). “We wanted to create something that was food-driven, so taste was paramount. For hemp seed protein, this means removing the outer shell and its green particulates with state-of-the-art color sorting technology to present a clean ingredient that is white instead of green and is void of bitter flavor typically associated with hemp protein.”
Solution: PurHP-75™ organic hemp seed protein – a new plant protein standardized to 75% protein, complete with all nine essential amino acids. The quality of protein in PurHP-75™ is considerably higher in purity than other hemp ingredients due to the latest advancements in dehulling and color sorting technology. The result is a near-white fluffy powder with a deliciously creamy texture, zero odor, and a neutral taste profile.
Request a sample: AppliedFoods.com/PurHP-75
5) Indian Spices for Flavor & Health
According to Mintel, consumers associate Indian spices, like ginger and turmeric, as comforting and functional, making them ideal for expansion into beverage applications [ix]. Turmeric brightens the beverage experience with vibrant golden-orange color and an on-trend aromatic flavor. Ginger remains a trusted digestive herb that provides a comforting warming spice. These flavors pair perfectly with fruits and floral essences to bring over-the-top notes back down to earth and add complexity to any beverage. The only problem is that gingerols and curcuminoids, the respective active compounds in these ayurvedic ingredients, are hydrophobic, meaning they tend to settle and fall out of liquid applications.
Solution: PurTurmeric® and PurGinger® – organic ginger and turmeric extracts designed for beverage use. PurGinger® and PurTurmeric® inspire beverage formulations with bold, spicy flavors and vibrant colors that are highly water soluble. These two shelf-stable ingredients are especially appealing for brands looking to scale and add consistency to their formulas.
Request a sample: AppliedFoods.com/PurGinger, AppliedFoods.com/PurTurmeric
About Applied Food Sciences
For over 20 years, Applied Food Sciences (AFS) has inspired brands in the natural products industry with our innovative functional ingredients. Quality is transparent through organic farming, responsible sourcing, and full traceability. From rural farmers to the largest companies in the world, we care about every stakeholder and collaborate to make better ingredients for the functional beverage market.
[i] Fredholm, B. , Battig, K. , Holmen, J. , Nehlig, A. & Zvartau, E. Actions of Caffeine in the Brain with Special Reference to Factors That Contribute to Its Widespread Use. Pharmacol. Rev. 51, 83–133 (1999).
[ii] Mayo Clinic Staff Writers. Caffeine: How much is too much? 2021
[iii] Krieger DR, Kalman DS, Feldman S, et al. The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Nervous System Effects of Two Natural Sources of Caffeine in Healthy Adult Males. Clin Transl Sci. 2016;9(5):246-251. doi:10.1111/cts.12403
[iv] McNeil, Maggie. Organic Trade Association survey says swing to home cooking in pandemic ignited sales. May 2021.
[v] FDA, Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. 2022
[vi] Morton J. Barbados Cherry. In: Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami: Julia F. Morton. 1987;204-207. 2014
[vii] SPINS retail sales data, April 6, 2021.
[viii] Whitney Economics – Déjà vu: An Economic Survey of the United States Hemp Cultivation Industry
[ix] Allmann, Emma. Mintel. U.S. Menu Trend Spotting: Indian-Inspired Beverages. 2022