According to The NPD Group, the concept of food as medicine has gained increasing importance during the COVID-19 pandemic as US consumers put their health and well-being front and center. They are trying foods, ingredients and substances that help them build immunity, prevent inflammation, aid their digestive health and relieve stress and anxiety.

In November 2020, 43 percent of US adults said that staying healthy and living longer was a top wellness goal they wanted to achieve with their food and beverage choices, reports NPD. Boosting immunity and reducing inflammation are top health concerns consumers look to achieve or treat with food and ingredients during the pandemic, especially when the importance of these two conditions in battling COVID-19 has been widely reported across media channels.

Consumers are turning to a variety of things to achieve this health. To boost immunity and reduce inflammation, popular foods and substances include elderberry, moringa, turmeric and manuka honey. To improve gut health, consumers have tried bone broth, kombucha and jack fruit.

“Food can be like fashion fads, in one day and out the other, and certainly during the pandemic health is top-of-mind with the majority of us as are the foods that help improve our health,” says Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst.  “What’s important to food manufacturers and marketers moving forward is to understand which of these foods will remain a part of consumers’ diets long-term and which will not.”