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What’s healthy now?

Diners’ definitions are changing in all segments.

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

health food medicine stethoscope

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Reportshows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that promote wellness. Among the findings:

42% of consumers overall (and 51% of younger consumers) say their definition of health has changed over the past two years. They are increasingly taking a more individualized and holistic approach to health, including mental, emotional and physical well-being.

45% of consumers say food or beverages that have stress relief claims are much healthier than those that don’t.

75% of 18- to 34-year-olds believe that antioxidants—the functionality claim most likely to imply healthfulness—have an immediate and direct impact on health and wellness.

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