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Superfood or superfool?

In the past it used to be as simple as an apple a day to keep you away from the doctor. But today it takes you a spoon of maca powder, a handful of goji berries, a shot of wheatgrass or any other combination of superfoods to keep you fit.

The term superfood captures all the so called nutrient-rich foods that are supposed to be beneficial for health and well-being. Making it seem that all the other vegetables and fruits we eat are just plain ok, not super. Yet many of us have some type of superfood stocked in their kitchen cabinet as we all want to try to eat and live heathier, right?

A survey conducted by InSites Consulting in nine countries showed that the US is runner up when it comes to superfoods. Australia is following the pace; while Europe is clearly lagging behind, but it seems that the trend is also starting to boom on European territories with more and more supermarkets enlarging their superfood assortments. US consumers are not only more familiar on what superfoods are out there, but they are also the biggest users of these so called health boosters. Especially Millennials are using these healthy ingredients to enrich their daily diet.

The most popular superfood in the US according to our survey amongst Millennials is Kale, 90% knows it and 38% regularly uses it with an additional 22% stating they tried it but do not use it anymore. The popularity of the cabbage is also visible in the many products that are entering the market to surf on this superfood trend. Not only healthy kale options like kale smoothies, kale hummus are appearing in stores, but also unhealthier food groups are trying to leverage the superfood effect. You now have for example kale ice cream, kale chips, kale beer, kale flavored chocolate and even brands like Mc Donald’s introduced kale varieties in markets like Canada (which received some recent critique that they would be higher in fat, sodium and calories than a double Big Mac).

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: Most popular #superfood according to US #Millennials is kale insit.es/2fECxSQ by @KPallini via @CoolBrands #mrx #nextgen #food

Kale ice-cream

But kale isn’t the only superfood that is entering Millennials’ meal plan, next on the list of most popular health boosters are coconut water (20% using it regularly), flaxseeds (19%), chia seeds (19%) and acai berries (15%). But are these ingredients delivering up their promises or is it just one big marketing trick to sell us herbs, berries and seeds that we would normally leave to the birds and other animals?

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: Are #superfoods just one big marketing trick? insit.es/2fECxSQ by @KPallini via @CoolBrands #mrx #nextgen #food

Somehow we all think that green berry-rich smoothies equal healthiness. There is not a lot of scientific evidence that these superfoods contribute to a healthier lifestyle, this doesn’t mean that they are unhealthy but let’s just say that we are all a bit super fools to believe in the magic these ingredients can bring. These ingredients are all good and healthy, but a good old broccoli can also do the trick (and that at a much lower price).

Posted in Stats