What Consumer Interest in Intermittent Fasting Means for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

What Interest in Intermittent Fasting Means for Food & Beverage Manufacturers

With reported health benefits ranging from weight loss to increased focus and energy, intermittent fasting has been dubbed “the new keto.” See how this trending diet is impacting consumer food preferences and what manufacturers can do to support these needs.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern of restricting food for a certain length of time at regular intervals. This restriction can be true fasting (with no calories consumed) or a significant reduction in calories (such as no more than five hundred calories in a day).

There are a variety of approaches to intermittent fasting. For example, the 16/8 method allows an eight-hour window each day for eating, with the remaining sixteen hours reserved as a time of fasting. Other options include fasting or restricting calories for two days a week or every other day. Even spontaneous meal skipping can be an approach to intermittent fasting.

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Potential Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Proponents of intermittent fasting point to certain effects it has on the metabolism that produce benefits similar to the keto diet, such as improved focus, increased energy, and weight loss. However, intermittent fasting has been associated with additional benefits as well, such as reducing inflammation (which affects conditions such as arthritis and asthma) and improving digestion by providing periods of rest for the digestive tract.

Dieter Demographics

Intermittent fasting was the #1 searched diet on Google in 2019.1 The Hartman Group found in their 2019 U.S. survey that those who had tried intermittent fasting in the prior twelve months were more likely to be Millennials or Gen Z.2 If intermittent fasters overlap with keto dieters (which is likely due to a shared interest in certain health benefits), then the demographics may also be similar. According to Mintel, keto dieters are more likely to be urban and between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four; they’re also more likely to consider themselves adventure eaters.3

How Intermittent Fasting Can Impact Consumer Food Preferences

As consumers try intermittent fasting, they may quickly realize they need to adjust their food choices to help support and sustain this eating strategy. Changes in consumer food preferences can include a greater interest in low-calorie products to help stay within daily calorie limits, as well as products that can support fasted workouts. They may also prioritize products that provide electrolytes and other micronutrients to help them stay properly nourished and prevent deficiencies.

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How Manufacturers Can Address these New Needs

The surge in interest in intermittent fasting provides a new opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers to develop specially formulated products to help intermittent fasters meet their goals. Products that can fill nutritional gaps and help control appetite will hold particular appeal.

A fasting beverage should address electrolyte replenishment and include electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, and phosphate, whereas a product designed to support fasted workouts and recovery should contain amino acids, especially branched chain amino acids. 

Micronutrient fortifications are important for any product targeting intermittent fasters. These could include biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and chromium—nutrients that are often deficient in weight loss programs.4 In addition, low or no calorie products are best for intermittent fasters. 

Nutrition Solutions for Every Need

As consumers become increasingly proactive about their health and nutrition, changes in consumer food preferences will naturally follow. Fortunately, by staying on top of these trends, food and beverage manufacturers can quickly address evolving nutrition needs to keep consumers satisfied. 

From our expertise in functional beverage, bars and healthy snacks, sports nutrition, and lifestyle nutrition, Glanbia Nutritionals is well-positioned to assist you with your next nutritional product formulation. Contact Glanbia Nutritionals to learn more about our nutrition ingredients that address the needs of today’s consumers.


References

1. Google Trends. Year in Search 2019. Retrieved from https://trends.google.com/trends/yis/2019/US/
2. The Hartman Group. Food Culture Forecast - 2019: Tapping into Personalized Nutrition.
3. Mintel. Consumer Approach to Nutrition, January 2020.
4. Calton, J. Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiency in Popular Diet Plans. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, June 10, 2010. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20537171/