‘Diet’ is no longer about preparing for swimsuit season, it is ‘a tool for well-being … to achieve broader goals of feeling healthy and high-functioning’

“Once upon a time, [diet] was synonymous with weight loss. It was a means to an end or on to-do lists for swimsuit season. But that is really not the case anymore,”​ said Arthi Padmanabhan, market research manager, custom research for New Hope Network’s NEXT Data & Insights.

Echoing comments​ from Dr Shelley Balanko at Hartman Group, Padmanabhan explained at virtual Expo West this week that “optimized diet is about diet as a tool for well-being and to help achieve broader goals of feeling healthy and high-functioning, and its’ based on internal barometer of how do I feel? There’s a large emphasis on intuition rather than things like digits on a scale. It’s eating certain things at certain points in a daily routine to achieve specific effects – like alertness for work, strength or endurance, or to optimize rest and recovery.”

With this mindset, consumers are focused on incorporating food and ingredients that support their goals, and removing or minimizing ingredients that they feel are “counterproductive to achieving those items,”​ she added.

In response to this shift, brands are innovating and renovating products to include more desirable ingredients and exclude less desirable ones.

For example, as consumers become more open-minded about alternative sweeteners, brands are able to include less refined sugar or select sweeteners perceived to have added nutritional benefits such as maple syrup with trace minerals or date sugar that has some potassium in it, Padmanadhan said.

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