Today’s consumers take a variety of factors into consideration when it comes to health and wellness—with many adopting a holistic attitude towards their overall wellbeing and supporting these efforts with modern eating approaches and lifestyles.
Holistic wellness has become a worldwide trend, with experts predicting the international wellness market may reach $7.0 trillion by 2025. The annual growth rate for global wellness (9.9%) is more than double that of the global economy. Research shows that healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss sectors gained traction amid the COVID-19 pandemic, surging by $34 billion between 2019 and 2020.1
Here at ADM, we went straight to the source—consumers—in a proprietary study of 10,000 U.S. respondents surveyed in small groups and found that 38% participated in a specialty diet in the last year.2 Let’s find out more about why consumers follow specific approaches and what they think about nutrition, ingredient labels and more.
According to a recent Hartman Group study, U.S. consumers do not necessarily shy away from the word ‘diet,’ but they have specific ideas about what it means. While the word ‘diet’ may still be tied to the idea of restriction or emphasis on weight, the idea for focus on overall wellbeing is shifting.3
Let’s start with what consumers consider their top reason for adopting a particular ‘diet’…traditional weight management comes in at 51%, followed closely by a more holistic desire: overall wellness and longevity at 39%.2 This finding aligns with the recent Hartman Group study. Consumers feel a diet should be seen as a method of eating and a focus on feeling good—rather than deprived.3
An Eating Approach for Every Demand
This focus on holistic wellness has launched a myriad of eating approaches. The ADM study evaluated respondents to determine if they engaged in 14 different lifestyle diets,2 which could then be organized into five families, including:
- Low carbohydrate (30% of respondents)
- Lifestyle & moderation (28% of respondents)
- Free-from & preventative (20% of respondents)
- Plant-based/-focused (15% of respondents)
- ‘Reset’ (7% of respondents)
It makes sense that 90% of consumers who follow specific eating approaches say they regularly read nutritional and ingredient labels. 44% of respondents also seek recognizable ingredients when reviewing ingredient lists. It’s also no surprise that carbs, total sugars, calories and added sugars are their top four most important attributes they observe: 2
Total Sugars 40%
Added Sugars 34%
Low Carbohydrate Approach
The ‘low carb’ family of modern eating approaches covers a variety of lifestyle diets, from Atkins® (low carb) to keto (very low carb and high fat) to paleo (low in simple carbs, sugar and sodium). As some of the top lifestyle diets for weight loss, they share a high demand that consumers review nutrition facts panels in search of total sugars (53%), added sugars (40%) and carbs (66%).
Choose sweeteners and starches that offer up sweetness without added sugars or high calories, with ADM’s tapioca starch and our low/no calorie plant-based sweeteners (to meet the demand for paleo-friendly sweeteners).
Lifestyle & Moderation Approaches
Lifestyle and moderation eating approaches include intermittent fasting (IF), WeightWatchers® (WW) and Mediterranean programs. Consumers following these approaches are often focused on weight loss, fitness optimization, lowering cholesterol and immunity benefits. These approaches require less need to check for specific ingredients and a more flexible approach to indulgences, but consumers still look for reduced added sugars and cleaner labels.
ADM offers many low/no calorie sweetener options—including a proprietary stevia leaf extract to keep great taste a priority and to help meet the demand for reduced added sugars. If clean label is more of a focus over calories, specialty nutritive sweeteners like SweetRight® agave and FruitUp™ fruit-based sweetener can provide the more recognizable ingredients consumers are looking for.
Free-from & Preventative Approaches
These range widely, from elimination approaches responding to ingredient allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy free), to efforts to reduce blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes (low glycemic). On average, low glycemic followers are trending higher for weight loss than they have in the past, from those using it as preventative. They are also among the highest groups checking total sugars and carbs, with 53% saying they always read nutritional and ingredient labels.2
FruitUp™ fruit-based nutritive sweetener offers natural sweetness from fruit, along with a low glycemic index. Other options include SweetRight® agave, stevia, monk fruit and allulose.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are the top approaches for not just avoiding animal products, and also for consideration of environmental concerns. They are the least focused on carbohydrate sources when reading nutritional and ingredient labels.2
ADM has a large pantry of plant-based starches and sweeteners, from traditional corn-based to more specialty ingredients, all of which aid the development of plant-based solutions like meat and dairy alternatives.
The Reset Approach
‘Reset’ eating approaches such as juice, detox and Whole 30® are top choices for consumers seeking immunity benefits, with Whole 30 followers being the most likely (44%) to review added sugars on labels.
ADM’s natural nutritive sweeteners like agave, honey, molasses, rice and tapioca give brands the opportunity to offer products that appease this discerning group of label-watchers. Our plant-based high potency sweeteners allow brands to completely remove added sugars, as desired.
ADM offers an unparalleled pantry of full-circle sweetener solutions that can cater to every consumer demand. We deliver the fundamental building blocks of winning foods and beverages with best-in-class taste and texture solutions for your sweetening and sugar reduction needs.
Whether they are called ‘diets’, ‘modern eating approaches’ or ‘eating lifestyles’, today’s ways of eating can still give consumers the sweetness and indulges they desire without compromise.
1. Global Wellness Institute. Press Room. June 2022 globalwellnessinstitute.org
2. ADM Outside Voice℠ Ingredients & Modern Eating Approaches, June 2022
3. The Hartman Group, Modern Approaches to Eating, July 2022