Global Health Trends

Check out Innova’s Top Trend #7 of 2024, “Indulging in Health”

May 7, 2024 – Indulging in health is a somewhat new health and wellness trend that describes the consumer desire to combine indulgence and health. This can include seeking indulgent products that have fewer negative features, such as gluten or sugar. The marriage of health and wellness with indulgence means consumers can look for indulgent products with boosted nutrition claims and health claims, for example, probiotics or immune health. Also, consumers seeking health and wellness can choose better-for-you products that aim to match the taste and texture of their indulgent counterparts.

Indulgent Health Trends Toward “Reduced Negatives” or “Boosted Health and Nutrition”

For health and wellness, products in indulgent categories may make claims for “reduced negatives” and/or “boosted health and nutrition.”

Indulgent subcategories encompass many different types of products. Indulgent soft drinks incorporate carbonates, drink concentrates and mixes, iced coffee, iced tea, and other types of soft drinks, excluding water and juice. Bakery is a classic indulgence category, with its cakes, pastries and sweet goods, savory biscuits and crackers, and sweet biscuits and cookies. Confectionery indulgences include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery. In desserts and ice cream are dairy-based ice cream and frozen yogurt, non-dairy ice cream and frozen yogurt, ice cream toppings, water-based ice lollies, ice pops and sorbet. Other desserts include ambient and chilled desserts like pudding, gelatin and cheesecake, plus frozen desserts. Indulgent sauces and seasonings include cooking sauces, mayonnaise, dressings, and table sauces. Snacks range across a wide variety of different products. Spreads that are indulgent encompass caramel and cream spreads, chocolate spreads, jelly, jam, dips, and syrups. Finally, indulgences include sugar and sweeteners.

Better-for-You Products for Health and Wellness May Incorporate Indulgence

Better-for-you products span a number of categories. These are products that inherently support health and wellness. They also may position themselves as indulgent. In soft drinks, better-for-you subcategories are bottled water, juice, and juice drinks. The entire cereal category – cereal and energy bars, cold cereal, and hot cereal – is considered better-for-you. Dairy products supporting health and wellness are dairy alternative drinks, drinking yogurt and fermented beverages, flavored milk, spoonable dairy yogurt, spoonable non-dairy yogurt, and unflavored milk. Better-for-you fruits and vegetables are fresh, frozen, or processed. Meat substitutes aligned with health and wellness include all types of meat, poultry and fish or seafood substitutes. Sports nutrition features sports bars, sports drinks RTD, sports powders, sports protein-based RTD, and other types of sports products. Better-for-you products also support health and wellness with health claims.

Global Health Trends

In Health and Wellness Trends, Consumers Want Healthy Indulgence

The Innova Market Insights #7 trend in its Top 10 Trends for 2024 is healthy indulgence. Looking at market trends, Innova sees health brands moving into indulgence and comforting treats offering added health and wellness. Over half of consumers globally say they would compromise on indulgence for healthier food. A solid proportion would consume fewer non-healthy ingredients. Health trends research also shows that a number of consumers use natural products.

Better-for-you categories are becoming more indulgent by incorporating premium flavors, textures, or ingredients.

Health Claims Rise on Indulgent Product Launches

Active health claims directly promote health. Indulgent product launches with active health claims are a rising health trend, and claims for prebiotics, immune health, probiotics, and added calcium are fastest growing. Among the fastest growing indulgent categories with fewer negative nutrient claims or more positive claims are savory snacks.

Indulgent Categories Reduce the Negatives

The most common reduced negatives claims on indulgent product launches are gluten-free, no additives or preservatives, natural, and organic. According to health trends research, consumers look for reduced negatives in indulgent categories and are influenced by claims for reduced sugar, natural, and/or reduced fat. Sugar-related claims are not very common on indulgent product launches but they are growing. Claims for reduced calories, carbohydrate, fat, trans fat, and cholesterol on indulgent launches are limited and growth is flat. Lactose-free claims appear on a small percentage of indulgent product launches but they are growing.

In indulgent categories, watch for claims pertaining to alcohol-free, reduced sodium, no seed oils, no artificial sweeteners, and no garlic or onion.

Look for More Nutrition in Indulgent Categories

Up to 15% of consumers globally say they are influenced by claims of boosted nutrition, such as high fiber or probiotics. Probiotics, as well as prebiotics and immune health are the fastest-growing positive nutrition claims among indulgent launches. High-fiber claims have modest growth on products such as pizza, cookies, and chocolate bars. Innova is monitoring product launch trends for prebiotics in carbonated sodas and probiotics in fermented cheese, frozen yogurt, and kombuchas. High protein claims are growing in ice cream bars, pudding and salty snacks. Watch for claims regarding DHA, omega-3s, vitamins and minerals, and nootropics such as ashwagandha.

Better-for-You Products Add Indulgence

Some consumers say they are influenced by indulgence claims in better-for-you categories like cereal or meat and dairy substitutes. Health trends research indicates a small percentage of products with health claims also have indulgence claims, but the presence of indulgence claims is growing in better-for-you meat substitutes, spreads,  ice cream, sports nutrition, bakery, and meat, fish and eggs. Meat and dairy substitutes are adding indulgent flavors and sensory features. Yogurt and better-for-you versions of desserts and salty snacks can carry artisanal small-batch claims or gourmet flavors. 

What’s Next in Reduced Negatives and Increased Positives in Indulgences?

No additives and preservatives and gluten-free are likely to remain the most prevalent while reduced sugar or calories claims will be possible with the use of natural low-calorie sweeteners. High fiber and high protein claims are likely to grow, as are prebiotic, probiotic, gut health, immune health, brain health, heart health, and nootropics like ashwagandha.

What’s Next in Better-for-You?

Better-for-you products are expected to become more gourmet with artisanal flavors and complex spice mixtures.

Nutrients to Watch Out For in Global Health Trends

Here’s what consumers can expect in health plus indulgence. High-fiber expands in cookies, crackers, cakes, salty snacks, chocolate bars, and pizza categories. No, low, and reduced sugar and calorie claims go up. High-protein grows in flavored nuts, ice cream, pudding, and salty snacks. Meat and dairy alternatives improve flavor and texture. Plant sterols support cholesterol-lowering claims for margarine and spreadable butter, oils, cereals, drink mixes, and coffee.


This article is based on our report, “Top 10 Trends 2024: Trend #7 – Indulging in Health – Global.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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