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Kombucha and chamomile among top searches in coronavirus crisis

Food and beverages for the immune system, stress relief, and medicinal benefits are all skyrocketing, according to intelligence startup Tastewise.

Chamomile, photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash Chamomile, photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Israeli AI-powered food prediction and intelligence startup Tastewise released new data this week that examines which foods and drinks people are looking for during the coronavirus crisis. The information is aimed at helping the food and beverage industry better support shoppers.

With fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus, consumers are increasingly aware of their health and the practices needed to defend it, Tastewise said. Food and beverages for the immune system, stress relief, medicinal benefits, are all skyrocketing, according to the data.

“While the last year has seen consumers increasingly turn to food and beverage for functional benefits, Tastewise is seeing staggering growth in the trend during this time of coronavirus,” the company said.

According to the figures, interest in food to benefit the immune system is up 66% in the past month. The company explains that it is a unique development because “usually, as we approach the end of winter, we expect to see less of a focus on this function — but COVID-19 has changed the pattern.”

An example of this is elderberry, which has seen a 108% increase in consumer conversations at home about the immune system. The “immune system” also has gone up 27% in social mentions.

Food to provide stress relief has also become increasingly relevant as consumers find themselves in a time of upheaval. This consumer motivation is experiencing growth of 122% in the past year, and will likely have a dramatic increase moving forward, according to the company. Rosemary, for example, is up 114% in consumer conversation from last year for its stress relief benefits.

Food to combat illness has also seen a 35% social increase and 45% in user growth.

“It is more important now than ever for food industry players to understand what solutions consumers look for in stressful times and why,” the company said.

According to Tastewise, four items are topping searches and mentions: melon is up 45% for sickness treatment, kombucha is up 55% for medicinal benefits, pickles are up 18.5% as an immunity-boosting ingredient, and chamomile is up 81.5% for anti-inflammatory benefits.

Founded in 2017 by Eyal Gaon and Alon Chen, once Google’s chief marketing officer for Israel and Greece, and Google’s global lead for the World Economic Forum, Tastewise provides real-time understanding of consumer motivations based on over two billion social interactions, more than three million online recipes, and a menu database from about 274,000 restaurants.

The company works with Fortune 500 food and beverage companies to offer actionable insights on consumer behaviors.

This article first appeared in NoCamels, which covers innovations from Israel for a global audience.