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Generation gap: % of food chosen for functional benefits
Age  % of functional food eaten
16-24 years 11.8
25-34 years 13.2
35-44 years 15.1
45-54 years 18.5
55-64 years 17.1
65+ years 21.3
Age  % of functional food eaten
16-24 years 8.7
25-34 years 13.6
35-44 years 12.1
45-54 years 15.2
55-64 years 19
65+ years 19

Kantar Worldpanel figures show the older consumers become, the more likely they are to choose functional food. 

However it’s the millennial generation (16 to 34 years) who are driving growth across functional food and drink. The age group selected food based on its additional health benefits 14% more often this year. 

While many functional innovations and NPD have been aimed at millennials, Philip Udeh, founder of natural energy drink brand Brain Fud states there are gaps yet to be filled. “Our belief is that busy female millennials are looking for functional energy drink solutions that speak directly to them. The major energy drinks are not speaking to women.”

Co-founder of new natural drink brand Flyte Jonathan Reeves agrees. “The younger generation of shoppers are getting busier, but they still care about health. For example, our research found 614,000 working millennials who are health-conscious but need a caffeine top-up in order to keep up with their busy lifestyles. Functional brands need to be aware of the needs of this age group and cater for them.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 28 January 2018

When are consumers eating functional food?
When are consumers eating the most functional food? 
Kantar Worldpanel  52 we 28th Jan 2018 vs. 29th Jan 2017   
Time of day % servings chosen for health benefits % change y-o-y
Breakfast 19.8 3
Morning snacks 19.3 0
Lunch 16 0
Afternoon snacks 15.4 3
Teatime 13.4 3
Evening meal 13.4 -4
Evening snacks 11.2 0

Functional food and drink becomes less important to consumers as the day progresses. The highest rate of food chosen for its health benefits is at breakfast, when it is a factor in 19.8% of servings. This drops over the day to just 13.4% at teatime and the evening meal. 

“Instant porridge oats, protein pancakes, breakfast drinks and cereal bars are among the most popular choices for breakfast,” says’s COO Steven Curran. “These foods are ideal for health-conscious consumers looking to kickstart their day with something quick and fortified with all the healthy nutrients that they need.”

The reason for Brits’ interest in functional foods dropping over the day can be blamed on a lack of options according to Ryan Black, founder of açaí brand Sambazon. “Breakfast options have grown in purpose, function and nutrition in the past few years. Brands need to innovate with new offerings that cater to an audience that is looking for functional, health-focused food throughout the day.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 28 January 2018