Michelle Teodoro
Michelle is Mintel's Global Food Science and Nutrition Analyst based in Singapore. She specialises in food science and ingredients, with a focus on nutrition.

In an increasingly hectic world, more and more consumers are switched on to their own emotional wellbeing, and are looking for ways to support and build on this, as discussed in the Mintel Trend ‘Mood to Order’. This drives the need for brands to create food and drink products formulated with ingredients that aid in easing stress and relaxation.

The connection between food and mood is well-established

The food we eat influences how we feel. Indeed, Mintel research reveals that 48% of Chinese confectionery consumers buy chocolate to improve their mood. In the UK, two-thirds of consumers agree that what consumers eat has a direct impact on their wellbeing.

Launches of food and drink products with ‘mood’ and ‘emotional health’ claims are niche but constant, as consumers are aware that food and drink can support emotional as well as physical health. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), launches with mood-related claims accounted for a small percentage of all food and drink launches in the past five years.

Amlamrut Amla Squash (India) for stress and longevity support

Connecting through comfort and meditation

A way for brands to support consumers’ moods is through food and drink that support meditation, and have calming and comforting effects. This may include ‘hygge’-inspired products, as this can provide a feeling of comfort, pleasure and security. In order to make products more ‘hyggelig’, products could use kokumi-enhancing ingredients. While umami delivers a pleasant savoury taste profile, kokumi imparts a separate mouthfeel experience described as ‘heartiness’ or ‘richness’.

Comfort foods with kokumi-enhancing ingredients

Southeast Asian comfort food
Yeo’s Chicken Rendang with Potatoes, Singapore
Contains flavourful spicy dry curry and is authentically prepared using tender chicken with added potatoes, braised in an aromatic blend of spices and coconut.

Traditional staple ingredient
Traditions by Foodhall Kerala Red Matta Rice, India
Grown in the Palakkad district of Kerala and used to make the traditional Malabar biryani with spiced meat and potatoes, or to make Kerala’s traditional comfort food, Kanji.

Brands can also take emotional and spiritual influences from religious traditions such as Korean Buddhist Temple Food to cultivate inner peace, calm the mind and de-stress. This consists of natural, sustainable food which is said to provide mental clarity and spiritual energy, and is consumed with gratitude and reverence, without obsession. Many of the elements of Korean Buddhist Temple Food align with current trends: local, natural, seasonal and sustainable.