2021 Trends in Bioactives
Bioactives encompass a wide variety of compounds that are known to have an effect on the body—for example, by modulating metabolic processes, inhibiting enzymes or receptors, or influencing gene expression. In addition, many bioactives have antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, benefits with broad appeal for consumers interested in health and wellness. Here’s a look at some of the important trends in bioactives to watch in the new year.
1. Consumer Demand High for Bioactive Peptides
Strong consumer demand for protein and interest in functional health benefits are driving growth in products with bioactive peptides. Bioactive peptides have been linked to diverse benefits that range from muscle growth to skin health to enhanced immune response. Uses include sports nutrition, beauty-from-within, and healthy aging products. Bioactive peptides from whey and collagen are especially popular and can be easily included in a custom premix.
2. Phenolic Compounds Are Hot
Superfoods such as berries, green tea, and flax seeds are often touted for their high levels of phenolic compounds. Researchers continue to screen new plants, with date seeds and finger millet among recent examples.
3. Curcumin Is Trending
Curcumin (from turmeric) is one of the top trending bioactives in the food industry. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, joint health products have been a popular application for curcumin, often in a custom premix with other joint support ingredients. Now, it’s showing up in sports nutrition products due to its potential role in alleviating exercise-related inflammation and muscle soreness. Research is also underway into improving curcumin’s bioavailability, for example, by combining it with piperine from black pepper.