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Functional ingredients see rapid growth in 2021 as cultural shifts give way to functional foods, alternative medicines

A new report from Brightfield Group's data platform, Evergi, examines functional health and wellness trends driven by US consumer needs

CPG companies that want to expand their product lines can't ignore the growing significance of functional ingredients in the wellness space right now. ”
— Bethany Gomez, Managing Director of Brightfield Group
CHICAGO, IL, UNITED STATES, November 4, 2021 / -- Consumers’ market for functional ingredients and natural medicines accelerated in 2021. According to Evergi’s new report, What’s Trending in Functional Health and Wellness, nearly half (46%) of Americans are turning to functional foods and alternative medicines, especially to support sleep and relaxation. The report is based on the company’s AI-driven social listening platform and a survey of more than 5000 American consumers.

Following on this trend, new launches in food and beverage are increasingly need state-focused, as 30% of consumers are seeking products with immune-boosting claims, 32% look for products that aid in gut health and 20% seek products with relaxation claims.

Sleep was reported as a primary stressor for nearly 20% of Americans — even higher than COVID (18%) — and only behind money and work. This was up 25% from 2020 and indicates a rapid deterioration in the quality of Americans’ sleep, also proving the demand for products to support this growing problem. Consumers are increasingly turning to functional ingredients and functional-based products as an accessible and effective way to keep their overall wellness in check.

“CPG companies that want to expand their product lines can't ignore the growing significance of functional ingredients in the wellness space right now”, said Bethany Gomez, Managing Director at Brightfield Group. "It's clear the focus for consumers is their personal well-being as the country continues to grapple with the COVID pandemic and preventative health has been top of mind.”

As the pandemic continues to loom over the lives of Americans, it brings significant and lasting changes to their attitudes and behaviors. 56% of US consumers report that the pandemic has shifted their priorities, which signifies that this hunger for immune-boosting or other functional ingredients is unlikely to wane.

A cultural shift related to alcohol may be on the horizon as well, as attitudes are shifting among younger generations. 58% of Gen-Z and 66% of Millennials are looking to consume less alcohol, and 53% of Gen-Z and 62% of Millennial consumers are seeking alternatives to alcohol. Substitutes are emerging in the form of premium nonalcoholic beer and spirits, cannabis-infused drinks, and adaptogen-based beverages.

For a copy of the full report, please reach out to

About Evergi
Brightfield Group’s Evergi platform identifies trends in emerging wellness categories. By integrating multi-source data with AI and research expertise into a cross-comparable data lake, Evergi uncovers insights as new markets develop. Since 2015, Brightfield has helped Marketing, Innovation, and Insights leaders drive consumer-centric strategies for their next big idea. Learn more at


Bianca Pasare
Brightfield Group
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