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Nutrient Pairing – Taking Advantage of Food Ingredient Synergies for Optimal Health

There is evidence that consuming certain combinations of nutrients can enhance their beneficial impact. These combinations, or “food synergies,” can enhance a nutrient’s bioavailability, or the proportion of a nutrient that the human body can absorb and use. This has important implications for the functional food market, innovation in health-oriented food and drinks, and how consumers make healthy choices more generally.

Consumers demonstrate growing interest and trust in food and drinks that claim to address specific health needs.  Consumer trust in the concept of functional food is generally high, and this is crucial in communicating and promoting the merits of nutrient pairing. Additionally, consumers are making concerted efforts to increase their vitamin intake, and approaches to consumption that promise to maximize vitamin potency will be valued.

Manufacturers have a key role to play in communicating the benefits of nutrient pairing to consumers. While the concept of nutrient pairing has significant potential, consumer buy-in will require a concerted effort from the media, health agencies, and manufacturers alike to educate consumers about adopting this approach to making food and drink choices. Receptiveness to nutrient pairing will also present key opportunities in foodservice.

What are the key food combinations that hat help to boost nutrient absorption?

Some of the key food combinations that hat help to boost nutrient absorption are avocados + tomatoes, apples + dark chocolate, oatmeal + orange juice, lemon + kale, blueberries + grapes, peanuts + whole wheat.

Avocados and tomatoes are a good combination because healthy fats in avocados can improve the absorption of lycopene – a carotenoid in tomatoes. Similarly, combination of apples and dark chocolates may improve heart health. For the oatmeal and orange juice combination, the phenols in oatmeal and the vitamin C in orange juice can both help stabilize bad cholesterol. Combination of lemon and kale is beneficial because citrus present in lemon can help the body absorb plant-based iron that comes from leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Similarly, the resveratrol found in red grapes and pterostilbene from blueberries can improve immune response. Hence, the combination of blueberries and grapes is also preferred. Peanuts and whole wheat as a combination can also be beneficial as combining the amino acids from peanut butter and wheat can create optimal protein for building muscle.

What are the future considerations for companies for nutrient paring?

While eating out is largely treated as an indulgence, restaurant menus are increasingly being reimagined to address consumers’ nutritional needs and ethical considerations. The inclusion of plant-based options in fine dining and quick-service restaurants alike is testament to this. Consumers’ growing interest in functional food may result in more deliberate collaborations between foodservice operators and nutritionists to develop menu items that leverage optimal nutrient pairings.

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Market overview

Key food combinations Avocados + Tomatoes, Apples + Dark Chocolate, Oatmeal + Orange Juice, Lemon + Kale, Blueberries + Grapes, Peanuts + Whole Wheat


  • The issue of ingredient “bioavailability” may become more prominent as consumers become better informed about their nutritional needs.
  • Consumers exhibit a desire to boost their vitamin consumption and are likely to be receptive to ingredient combinations that improve the potency of vitamins.
  • Manufacturers are increasingly communicating that a product’s nutritional benefits are largely influenced by how effectively its nutrients are absorbed by the body.

Reasons to Buy

  • Identify future potential commercial applications for emerging concepts in fast-moving consumer goods.
  • Understand the relevant consumer trends and attitudes that drive and support innovation success so you can tap into what is really impacting the industry.
  • Gain a broader appreciation of the fast-moving consumer goods industry by gaining insights from both within and outside of your sector.
  • Access valuable strategic take-outs to help direct future decision-making and inform new product development.

Key Players

Lil Goodness







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Frequently Asked Questions

The key food combinations that help to boost nutrient absorption are avocados + tomatoes, apples + dark chocolate, oatmeal + orange juice, lemon + kale, blueberries + grapes, peanuts + whole wheat.


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