Mood-enhancing foods are those that contain ingredients said to uplift mood, boost mental health or improve cognitive function.
Although the category is still in its development stages and lacks a standard definition, it is an area attracting significant interest from consumers around the world, according to a new report published by research firm Kline & Company.
The researcher said the concept of mood foods receives varying levels of awareness and acceptance in different regions around the world. However, in countries with a developed and distinct functional foods market – such as the United States – foods making mood, emotional and cognitive health claims are emerging as an increasingly important category.
“Due to the lack of a standard definition of the mood foods category and the nascent global market, the size of the global mood foods industry is uncertain. However, due to a low sales base, the mood foods market will continue to experience a robust growth rate,” writes Kline.
“As food scientists and marketers strive to infuse new ideas and incorporate new benefits, the focus of the functional foods industry is widening beyond the traditionally offered physiological functional benefits. In this context, functional foods and beverages that stimulate mental and emotional wellness emerge as an interesting market niche.”
The mood food market saw “significant activity” after 2000, with the first actors in the market being companies that were prepared to invest in the commercialization of products containing innovative ingredients. Small and medium-sized firms that capitalized on traditional mood-enhancing foods and ingredients – such as chocolate, ice cream or tea – were also at the starting line, said Kline.
The new flash-point report, entitled Mood-Enhancing Foods and Beverages: The ‘Fun’ in Functional Foods, provides a regional break-down of the mood food market, covering market size and growth in North America, Europe and Asia.
According to Kline, the market will “continue to experience healthy growth rates”, boosted by an aging population prepared to spend more on prevention rather than cures.
As well as the growing and more active baby-boomer population, other drivers for the growth in the mood-food market include changing lifestyles, rising consumer expectations and increased innovation.
Factors for success identified by the researcher include:
· Proven efficacy
· Consumer education
· Retail channel positioning
· Widening the consumer base
· Product forms targeting various demographics
· Careful market positioning
· Building a brand that communicates the food-mood connection
· The movement needs a champion
· Decide the right research and development approach