Traditional and alternative medicine approaches originating in Asia are increasingly popular among Western consumers, creating a major opportunity for Asian ingredients suppliers and enterprising brands on both sides of the world.
But according to new research from Mintel, in order maximize interest among Western consumers, brands need to clearly communicate the benefits of ingredients used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Indian Ayurveda and Jamu (a traditional medicine practiced in Indonesia).
Mintel says that the concept of ‘consumption with a purpose’ continues to add value in nutrition, health, vitamin, and supplement product innovations. Its research shows that over seven in 10 French, German, Italian, and Spanish consumers (respectively) agree that the health benefits of natural foods are preferable to the added benefits of functional foods.
Consumers are significantly more likely to want to see functionality attributes such as antioxidants, immunity, heart health and beauty benefits, in tea, says Mintel. This, it says, “indicates that innovating and supporting products with specific functional claims may boost consumer interest and at the same time, meet consumers’ demand for options that meet their specific needs.” It recognizes, however, that regulations in different markets may limit what claims can be made.
Producing natural functional food or drink products is the solution many manufacturers are aiming to provide to the increased need for beneficial, nutritious, and natural products among consumers. Mintel predicts that the use of functional ingredients, such as botanicals and herbs, will continue to flourish in the market and will “greatly attract consumers due to their inherent health benefits and scientific evidence-based discovered functionalities”.
The market intelligence specialist believes that the ‘consumption with a purpose’ concept could be applied with the help of TCM ingredients, such as ginseng for energy boost, red dates for antioxidant, fruit honey for beauty benefits, and pu-erh tea and hericium erinaceus mushroom for digestive health.