FOOD BUSINESS NEWS — The ongoing pandemic has fueled consumer interest in products promising a range of perks, from immunity support to stress relief.
Functional food and drink sales in the United States hit $83 billion last year, up 6.8% over the prior year, per Nutrition Business Journal. A survey by Kerry Group found two-fifths of shoppers purchased more functional foods in 2021 than in 2020.
Emerging brands are tapping into burgeoning demand for foods with function. An array of applications incorporate ingredients including adaptogens, nootropics, vitamins and minerals, aimed at the growing appetite for grocery staples with added benefits.
When Mathew Thalakotur’s health routine wasn’t sticking, he considered chewing gum.
“I used to always forget to take my vitamins, so I decided to upgrade a habit I already had,” said the Seattle-based founder of Mighty Gum, a brand of chewing gum boosted by beneficial botanicals.
Mr. Thalakotur’s early research found that of the 60% of consumers who buy traditional supplements, about half forget to use them consistently.
“People just don’t like swallowing pills, or they don’t like how much sugar is in gummies,” he added. “Mighty Gum is a sugar-free way to get vitamins into your routine, doing something you’re probably already doing; 165 million Americans chew gum regularly.”
Following over a year of product iterations, Mighty Gum debuted two and a half years ago, prior to the initial onset of the pandemic.
“The first two months were really quiet,” said Mr. Thalakotur, who works a full-time job to support his family and the business.
“By the time May and June of 2020 rolled around, people started focusing on ways to strengthen their immune health. That’s when it took off.”
Today, Mighty Gum is sold online at mightygum.com and in several hundred retail outlets, as well as coffee shops, juice bars and wellness labs. The brand has become popular … READ MORE.