Chicago, IL—U.S. consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how to use food to manage medical conditions, according to new research from The NPD Group. Around a quarter of U.S. adults are trying to manage a health or medical condition by making healthy dietary choices.

Young adults aged 18-24 are particularly interested in this area, according to a press release. Last year they chose food and beverages with healthy profiles for 19% of their meals and snacks. 9% of adults say a top nutrition goal is protecting brain health; young adults were 45% more likely to express an interest in brain health products than 35-44 year-olds.
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This growing interest in food-as-medicine is boosting a trend of superfoods: NPD’s press release notes that consumers have expressed interest in trying elderberry, CBD, and Mānuka honey, all of which are believed to have medicinal effects. Other up-and-comers are reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha, and microgreens.

Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst, said in the release: “There are a variety of superfoods, like kale, quinoa, and acai berry, that have mainstreamed and found their way into a myriad of foods. Rather than being one of many offering a superfood, understanding the trajectory of emerging superfoods helps food marketers be ahead of the curve in making calculated decisions about new product investments.”