Health foods can be referred to as food products that are considered beneficial to human health, as they offer high natural fibre and vital nutrients. Health foods help to prevent atherosclerosis, control glucose and cholesterol levels and reduce risk of infections and other diseases. Generally, health food consists of natural & organic food, whole food, dietary supplements and others. Health food and drinks are known to treat and prevent various gastrointestinal diseases like irritable or inflammatory bowel syndrome, diarrhoea and food allergies. It can also be included in functional foods to reduce cholesterol levels, aid digestion, improve brain functionality and increase immunity. Unhealthy eating habits have resulted in high incidences of illnesses and deaths globally, resulting in shift towards consumption of healthy food.
Global health food market can be segmented by products as organic food, functional food, naturally healthy food and others. Of these, naturally healthy food dominates the market followed by functional foods. However, organic food market is witnessing higher growth attributable to growing geriatric population, changing consumer lifestyle and rising disposable income. Health food market is moving towards promising future bolstered by the factors like product & packaging innovation and differentiation in product forms and formulations.
With rising popularity of organic farming, health conscious consumers are opting to buy organic food despite high prices. Also, organic farming is known to protect environment and helps to control soil pollution as it does not leave toxic residue and recycles biodegradable materials.
Another trend observed in the health food market is increasing preference for health drinks among health conscious consumers. Healthy soft drinks account for approximately half of global soft drinks retail sales, whereas healthy packaged food is expected to reach to one-third of total packaged food retail sales in the future. In addition, milk formula is expected to witness the fastest growth within health food and beverage market followed by gluten-free bakery products.
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