Brightseed identifies new consumer segment: Bioactivists believe food can be as powerful as medicine

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

More than a quarter of US adults are identified as Bioactivists. Pic: GettyImages/Tara Moore
More than a quarter of US adults are identified as Bioactivists. Pic: GettyImages/Tara Moore

Related tags Brightseed bioactives Hemp health and wellbeing Gut health

The San Francisco-based bioactives specialist released new research that reveals a significant subset of consumers who are engaged in a new horizon of science-based, natural solutions for health.

Bioactive are compounds found in plants, fungi and microbes that appear to have beneficial health effects. Examples include the curcumin found in turmeric or caffeine in tea.

Bioactive compounds have fast been gaining interest among consumers. In fact, Brightseed’s study – undertaken in 2022 among almost 3,000 US adults – identified a new consumer segment of Bioactivists (27%) who actively seek out novel bioactive health solutions.

This finding presents a new opportunity for functional food and beverage brands to innovate products aimed at this early adopter segment.

The Bioactivist consumer

Bioactivist 1

While 62% of the US population claimed to be interested in learning more about bioactives, more than a quarter are highly motivated, health-conscious consumers who prioritise nutrition as a proactive health measure and, as such, are significantly more engaged.

In addition, half of Bioactivists said they are dissatisfied with the natural solutions for health currently available on the market, with 52% stating they would pay more for bioactive-containing products.

  • 66% are interested in increasing their intake of bioactives and would try new foods because of their bioactive content.
  • 76% are interested in learning more about bioactives overall.
  • 67% believe their favourite brands should communicate about the bioactive content of their products.

As such, Bioactivists are more likely to be motivated to prevent future health issues than the general consumer.

Bioactivist 2

“Bioactivists are seeking proactive and preventative health solutions in a very targeted manner, and their heightened awareness on health topics has a direct impact on their evaluation of products and purchasing behaviour,” said Michelle Masek, Brightseed’s VP of Marketing.

“Our findings show these Bioactivist consumers are hungry to find bioactives on the labels of their trusted brands.”

Functional opportunities

Food as medicine sefa ozel
Pic: GettyImages

Brightseed’s findings echo industry research on how consumers are zeroing in on health as a key motivating factor driving the rise of organic, clean label and functional categories.

Brightseed is developed a certified organic version of its Bio 01​ to better align with Bioactivists’ desires.

Derived from upcycled hemp hulls and formulated to optimise bioactive content, the company claims the novel ingredient is the only dietary fibre on the market that contains two bioactive compounds – NCT and NFT – that show promise to support gut barrier integrity in preclinical studies.

The organic version can easily integrated into cereals, granolas, nutrition bars and functional beverages.

Recent natural product industry analysis confirms there has been a ‘fundamental shift’ in the consumer's definition of healthy, where more shoppers today are interested in ‘the healthy components within’ versus removal of the ‘bad’, like trans fats and added sugars.

A growing library of clinical research on bioactive compounds ​is validating the benefits that bioactive compounds can have on human health – may increase gut microbial diversity, improve endothelial function (the thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels), improve cognitive function, reduce bone loss and so forth. Brightseed’s game-changing AI tech – called Forager – also connects these plant compounds and human biology.

“Health-conscious consumers are trained to seek out products containing certain label claims, vitamins, minerals or classes of antioxidants, but our findings show that there’s a huge unmet opportunity to address the needs of Bioactivists who are drilling deeper in the science,” said Alina Slotnik, Brightseed’s VP of Bioactives.

“Bioactive ingredients are the next generation of health ingredients and a novel way to deliver differentiated benefits.”

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