With more focus on health than ever before, consumers turn toward nutrient-dense products.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a tumultuous year for restaurants. Though the industry still faces many challenges related to the virus in 2021, national attention has turned toward the rollout of vaccinations, as well as toward the concept of immunity. While Americans hold out hope that a vaccination will allow them to return to their normal lives in the months to come, many consumers have also sought healthier lifestyles that will help them stay well.
Last year, Datassential reported that 71 percent of consumers said certain vitamins and minerals can help boost their immunity, and 51 percent of consumers said they wished immunity-boosting foods and ingredients were available at all the restaurants they frequent. Additionally, 48 percent of consumers said they wished they could add immunity-boosting ingredients to all foods that they ordered at restaurants, while 47 percent wished they could add immunity boosters to restaurant beverages.
Over the past year, some restaurants have answered this demand for immunity-boosting products with new menu offerings. Take California-based Juice It Up! for example, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted smoothie, açaí bowl, and raw juice chains with over 100 locations open or under development. Because the brand already focused on educating customers about the nutritional benefits of the juices and smoothies it served, Noah Burgess, director of research and development at Juice It Up! says incorporating new ingredients and add-ons to the company’s existing menu of immunity-enhancing products in the midst of the pandemic was a natural fit.
“Even before the pandemic, our guests would ask us what they can do to boost their immunity defense during flu season,” he says. “But back in March and April when the pandemic began, people began asking about it even more, so we introduced new immunity-boosting options.”
Not only did Juice It Up! run campaigns focused on educating customers about which nutritional building blocks could help bolster immunity, such as protein, but the brand also gave guests the option of adding Monin’s Immunity Boost to their beverages. Made from a blend of vitamins C and D, zinc, echinacea, elderberry, and more, Monin’s Immunity Boost is a liquid vitamin supplement designed to be added to cold beverages to promote health. The product does not have any added sugar or flavor and is also free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
“This product is basically flavorless, and it's water soluble,” Burgess says. “We use it as an add-on to any menu item, whether it's one of our smoothies, raw juices, or superfruit bowls. Our products are already nutrient dense, but just a few pumps of Monin’s Immunity Boost enhances the immunity benefits of our offerings.”
Because of the positive customer response Juice It Up! received from adding Monin’s Immunity Boost to the line up last year, the brand is starting 2021 with a whole line of immunity-boosting products, including limited-time offers such as its “Mighty-C Immunity” and “The Supercharger” raw juices, which will be available through March 31.
However, Burgess doesn’t think increased focus will dissipate even after the pandemic ends. In fact, he says now that so many consumers are educated on the benefits of building a strong immune system through nutrition, they will likely continue seeking immunity-boosting products on restaurant menus in the future. As a result, Juice It Up! has also permanently added the “Mighty-C Immunity Shot” and “Superfruit Sunrise” smoothies to its menu.
“We’ve all learned that immunity is really important,” Burgess says. “Whether a restaurant serves juices and smoothies or mocktails and cocktails, adding a supplement like Monin’s Immunity Boost goes a long way, and consumers will appreciate that you’re adding extra nutrients that help them stay healthy without adding empty calories.”
To learn more about adding immunity boosting nutrients to your menu, visit the Monin website.