Blocking Bitter, Earthy Ashwagandha with Ease

Ashwagandha root may be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety.

After a series of lab tests, we have masked the bitter, earthy notes of ashwagandha powder and extract. Ashwagandha is showing up in food and beverage products, nutraceuticals, supplements and more. Data Bridge Market Research reports a strong forecast of market growth globally. The consideration of its adaptogenic effects can be reviewed in greater detail in this article from December 2019 authored by Salve, Pate, Debnath, and Langade, and published online by the National Library of Medicine. We appreciate the claimed benefits of ashwagandha and are excited to aid our customers using this ingredient in their products.


Our Tru™ products are listed as a Natural Flavor.


Simple, natural, clean label ingredients. Build a cleaner taste profile with TastesNatural™.

Please Contact Us to request your complimentary sample.

A Quick Guide to Functional Foods

A History and Definition of Functional Foods

The term functional food was first used in 1993 to describe Japan’s initiative to utilize the health properties of food to improve the health of its population1. Japan was the first and remains the only nation to regulate the use of the term functional food as a health claim.  Foods that wish to use the claim must be approved by the Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) program. Foods approved by this program are allowed to use the FOSHU seal on their products2.


Generally, functional foods are defined as foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, but there is no definition that is globally recognized by regulatory bodies3. This category of foods can contain conventional foods, fortified, enriched or enhanced foods and dietary supplements. The International Food Science Institute defines functional foods as follows, “a food can be regarded as ‘functional’ if it is satisfactorily demonstrated to affect beneficially one or more target functions in the body, beyond adequate nutritional effects, in a way that is relevant to either an improved state of health and well-being and/or reduction of risk of disease. Functional foods must remain foods and they must demonstrate their effects in amounts that can normally be expected to be consumed in the diet: they are not pills or capsules, but part of a normal food pattern4”. Additional functional food definitions can be found in Table 1. In the US the FDA regulates the use of the term, but does not provide a legal definition5. The term functional food is viewed largely as a marketing term.

Functional foods are segmented into three categories. Conventional foods are functional foods that have naturally occurring bioactive food compounds. Examples include, antioxidants found in orange juice and probiotics in yogurts. Modified foods are functional foods that contain bioactive compounds through enrichment or fortification such as omega 3 fatty acids being added to margarine. Food ingredients are functional foods that are synthesized. A common functional food ingredient is indigestible carbohydrate which is used as a prebiotic2. Additional examples of functional food categories can be found in Table 2.

Nutraceuticals is a term that is often used interchangeably with functional foods. However, Nutraceuticals refers to any bioactive component that provides a health benefit, while functional foods refer to the food form only2.

Nutrition research has seen a large increase in the number of studies investigating functional foods and disease prevention2.  Over the past 25 years, there has been over a 1800% increase in the amount of published studies investigating functional foods available on PubMed (Figure 1).


Current Market for Functional Foods

Many factors have contributed to the dramatic increase in the market for functional foods, a trend that has been seen in the majority of developed countries worldwide3. Advances in food science technology paired with consumer trends have allowed the functional food market to create products that meet consumer demands2. Since 1995, there has been a shift from removing unhealthy components (i.e. low fat, low carb) to adding healthy components into to foods. Consumers want foods to be convenient, yet provide health benefits3.

Studies have also shown that increased healthcare costs, increased life expectancy and the desire to avoid disease to maintain a high quality of life are key drivers of the increased consumption of functional food6. Consumers have shown an increased desired to self-treat using their diets. This interest in food as medicine has been found to be highest among individuals with high incomes2. The most common food components that consumers report working to increase in their diets are fiber, protein, vitamin D, calcium, nuts/seeds and whole grains. 56% of adult consumers report interest in eating more superfoods7.  Interested in popular diets for weightless and health optimization has also impacted the increased demand for functional8.

Knowledge and usage of functional foods is high among consumers. Google named food with a function as a top five food trend in 2016 and functional foods were named one of the top US food and nutrition trends for 2017 by the International Food Information Counsil9. Over the past five years, functional foods, such as turmeric, have seemed a Google search increase of over 300%10. 80% of consumers believe that functional foods and beverages are effective in maintaining or improving health2. A 2019 report from the Food Marketing Institute found that 61% of consumers reported eating foods in the past week that have specific benefits for their bodies7. A 2019 market survey by the International Food Information Council found that 1 in 4 consumer seek a health benefit from their food. The top five desired health benefits are weight loss/management, increased energy, digestive health, cardiovascular health and muscle health11.

In addition to physical wellbeing, consumers are also interested in improving their mental health with their diets2. Since 2017, the definition of a healthy lifestyle has expanded to include exercise, relaxation and mental health7. Emotional and mental health was ranked as one of the top ten desired health benefits from food11.

This trend of increased consumption of functional foods also extends to foodservice where restaurants are also reporting increased demand for menu items with superfoods and health benefits (IFT 2020). Many restaurants, including fast food chains like Chick-la-A, have started developing functional food products to add to their menus12.

Market Size and Value

The US functional food market was estimated to be worth around $31.5 billion (USD) in 2015 and continued growth is forecasted. The majority of the functional food market in the US is composed of dietary fibers, vitamin and mineral functional foods (Figure 2)8.

This trend of increased market value is also forecasted for the global market. The value of the global functional foods market is currently estimated at $161.49 billion (USD). CAGR is expected to reach 7.9% by 2025. The Asian Pacific region consumes 40% of the functional foods market and is leading growth of this market due to its large population and increasing disposable income. Key countries that drive the functional food market are India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa8.

Functional foods have a wide variety of potential applications segments. Important categorizes of the functional food market are carotenoids, dietary fibers, fatty acids, mineral, prebiotics, probiotics and vitamins. In 2018, function foods with benefits to cardiovascular health was the dominate application segment8.

Dividing functional foods by product type, dairy products represented the largest market share in 2018. Popular diary functional foods include yogurts, milk drinks and enhanced spreads. The market share of bakery and cereal functional foods is expected to increase by 2025 as companies cater to the consumer demand for functional snacks foods8.




Market forecasts predict that the functional food market will continue to rapidly expand over the next 5 years8. The consumer demand for processed food with health benefits is a key driver of this growth. The current environment with the COVID-19 pandemic has made consumers very eager to purchase functional foods and beverages with immunity benefits. Products that require minimal change in the consumer’s habits, such as enhanced snack foods and beverages are expected to do very well in this market13.

With the creation of functional foods by adding functional ingredients, maintaining desired flavor is a major concern. Tastes Natural’s line of Tru products can help you to achieve the desired flavor of your products. Our products have been tested on many functional ingredients and yielded successful results. Visit us today at to learn about our products and get in touch with our team to design the Tru product solution for your products.



  1. Editorial, Functional Foods. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010; 64:657-659. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.101.
  2. Crowe KM, Francis C. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Functional Foods. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013;113(8):1096-1103. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2013.06.002.
  3. Kearney, John. “Food Consumption Trends and Drivers.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 365, no. 1554, 2010, pp. 2793–2807., doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0149.
  4. Diplock AT, Aggett PJ, Ashwell M, et al. Scientific concepts of functional foods in Europe: consensus document. Br J Nutr. 1999; 81:1–27.
  5. Klemm S. Functional Foods. EatRight. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  6. Ozen AE, Pons A, Tur JA. Worldwide consumption of functional foods: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews. 2012;70(8):472-481. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00492.x.
  7. The Top 10 Functional Food Trends. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  8. Functional Foods Market Size, Growth & Trends: Industry Report, 2025. Functional Foods Market Size, Growth & Trends | Industry Report, 2025. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  9. Insight F. Functional Foods, Sustainability, Protein, CRISPR and What’s “Healthy” Among Top U.S. Food and Nutrition Trends in 2017. IFIC Foundation. Published February 21, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  10. 2016 Food Trends on Google: The Rise of Functional Foods. Google. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  11. International Food Information Council. 2019 Food & Health Survey.; 2019.
  12. Who’s Leading the Functional-Foods Movement? QSR magazine. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  13. Food Bytes Quarterly Trend Report – Q1, 2020. Rabobank; 2020.

CBD Goes Mainstream

Make CBD Taste Better

Cannabidiol or CBD was named as one of the top 11 trends that will shape the CPG industry in 20201. The 2017 US government approval of CBD products has allowed CBD products to become accessible to the general public. Over the past 3 years, the availability of CBD products and consumer acceptance and desire for these products has increased at an extremely rapid pace.

Globally the CBD market is expected to reach a value of $89 billion by 20262.

North America accounts for the largest market share and the CBD market in North America is expected to rise from $9 billion (2017) to reach $47 billion by 20273,4.  A key driver of this continuous growth has been mainstream acceptance of CBD by both medical professionals and the general public. 25% of Americans report having tried a CBD product and one in 7 Americans report using CBD products daily 5,6.  58% of US adults reported being familiar with CBD and its potential health benefits, although confusion between CBD and THC remains high7.

CBD has a wide range of applications including pharmaceuticals, personal care, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and food and beverages. CBD’s use as a pain reliever is the most widespread (40%), followed by anxiety (20%) and insomnia (11%)6. Across all age groups, the most common form of CBD is as edibles 35%, followed by drop/sprays (30%) and vaping (30%)7.

For CBD products designed for consumption, a challenge can be the after taste. Consumers often complain of a bitter after taste and slight burning sensation. Tastes Natural has a proven record of success working with cannabis products to reduce these negative taste attributes with TruClear and TruMask. Our Tru products have successfully been used across the full spectrum of applications including gummies, sub-lingual strips, sprays, drinks, and tinctures. Contact Tastes Natural for more information and to request a free sample of TruClear and TruSweet.


  1. Prokop H. 11 Trends That Will Shape the CPG Industry in 2020. CSP Daily News. Published January 2, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  2. Cannabidiol Market revenue worth over USD 89 Bn by 2026: Global Market Insights, Inc. GlobeNewswire News Room. Published February 20, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  3. Increasing Growth, Acceptance Move CBD Market Toward Mainstream. PR Newswire: press release distribution, targeting, monitoring and marketing. Published April 9, 2019. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  4. Cannabidiol Market Size Analysis: CBD Industry Growth Report, 2025. Cannabidiol Market Size Analysis | CBD Industry Growth Report, 2025. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  5. Gill LL. CBD Goes Mainstream. Consumer Reports. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  6. Brenan M. 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Published April 8, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  7. Silvia A. What Do U.S. Consumers Think About CBD-infused Products? 4A’s. Accessed May 18, 2020.

No matter which diet you like, it’s still about reducing sugar and sodium.

Which diet is the best for weight loss and cardiovascular health? This is one of the most common questions that health professionals are asked and which a new study from the British Journal of Medicine seeks to answer. This study was a systemic review and meta-analysis of over 100 randomized trials on diet programs for weight loss and cardiovascular health. The review focused on three main types of diets: low carbohydrate, moderate macronutrients and low fat. Diets included in this study were: low fat, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, Jenny Craig, dietary advice, DASH, Biggest Loser, Atkins, Zone, South Beach, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, Portfolio, Paleolithic and Ornish. Each diet was evaluated for its impact for the outcomes of weight loss, blood pressure, blood lipoproteins (cholesterol) and C reactive protein (marker of inflammation) at 6 months compared to the standard American diet.

Weight Loss:

  • Most effective: Atkins, Jenny Craig
  • Moderately Effective: Zone, DASH, Mediterranean, Paleolithic, low fat, volumetric, Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley and Ornish

Systolic Blood Pressure Reduction:

  • Most effective: Paleolithic
  • Moderately Effective: Atkins, Zone, DASH, Mediterranean, low fat, portfolio

Diastolic Blood Pressure Reduction:

  • Most effective: Atkins
  • Moderately Effective: Zone, DASH, low fat

Low Density Lipoprotein Reduction:

  • Most effective: Mediterranean
  • Slightly Effective: DASH, low fat, Ornish, dietary advice

 C-reactive Protein Reduction:

  • No diets found to significantly decrease CRP compared to usual diet

The results of this study concludes that there is not sufficient evidence at this time to identify one diet as superior for achieving weight loss and improved blood pressure, cholesterol and c-reactive protein measures. If you are interested in these outcomes, nutrition experts recommend following a few tips, regardless of what diet you are on:

  1. Avoid added sugar
  2. Reduce your intake of sodium/salt
  3. Focus on whole foods
  4. Incorporate plant-based proteins into your meals
  5. Engage in 120 minutes of moderate exercise each week


One of the key reasons that Tastes Natural was started was to, as our motto says, make healthy taste good. With the great risk that obesity poses to our population, we invite food and beverage brands to explore how our array of products can help you to improve the nutritional quality of your products. Whether you are interested in reducing sugar, salt or masking the negative tastes attributes of  some plant based foods, we have a solution for your business. Request a sample today and let us help you to put the health of your consumers as a top priority.



  • Ge L, Sadeghirad B, Ball GDC, et al. Comparison of dietary macronutrient patterns of 14 popular named dietary programmes for weight and cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials. Bmj. January 2020:m696. doi:10.1136/bmj.m696.

COVID 19 Statement

In these uncertain times, we are finding comfort and guidance in knowing that we are all in this together. Tastes Natural has always been about improving the health of our customers through our products. Our core values are honesty and doing the right thing for our customers as well as our employees. We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and have made the decision to transition operations to be in accordance with local & government recommendations. As we have many customers in the food, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, our offices are open for essential production and shipping operations. We have instituted enhanced safety precautions against COVID-19 including frequent cleaning and working with our onsite staff to ensure their continued health.  All non-essential employees are working remotely to minimize their risk. Thanks to our wonderful team this transition has been successful utilizing virtual meetings while continuing to fulfill our customer’s product needs.  Product samples are still available if you are interested in evaluating Tastes Natural’s wide array of products in your formulations. Please visit request a sample here.

Sugar Free All Natural Oatmeal Cookies using TruSugr


  • 2 cup apple butter with apple juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon TruSugr®
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats


  1. Preheat oven to 375F, grease cookie sheets.
  2. Cream together apple butter, TruSugr®, vanilla, butter.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and stir into creamed mixture.
  5. Add oats and mix to combine.
  6. Cover dough and chill for 1 hour.
  7. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten with a fork.
  8. Bake in preheated over for 8-10 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

New study shows that consumers are looking for healthy products with less sugar

A new study from the University of Nottingham’s Division of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics department, found that when shoppers are presented with the same item with varying nutrition facts, high sugar content was ranked as a greater health concern than excess fat, saturated fat and salt content1.

The updated 2020 nutrition facts label makes it is easier than ever for sugar-wary consumers to identify products with a significant amount of added sugar. Studies on food trends show that increased consumer demand for “better-for-you-snacks” will likely continue in 20202. With new data from the CDC reporting that over 40% of American adults are now obese, the call for healthier products from consumers and public health officials is only increasing3.

In response to the growing consumer demand for reduced sugar products, Tastes Natural has developed TruSugr. TruSugr™ is an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener that has the sweetness profile of sugar. While many brands have added sugar-free or reduced sugar products into their product lines, products taste are often unacceptable. These products may lack sweetness and/or have negative taste that reduce their market appeal. TruSugr™ overcomes those negative taste attributes achieving a sugar-like taste profile. All of Tastes Natural’s Products are non-GMO, all natural, organic compliant, gluten free, and kosher.

Request a sample today to learn more about all of Tastes Natural’s products.

1. Anabtawi, O., et al. “Perceived Healthiness of Food Items and the Traffic Light Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling: Choice‐Based Conjoint Analysis and Cross‐Sectional Survey.” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2020, doi:10.1111/jhn.12741.
2. “What’s Trending in Snacks?” SmartBrief, 4 Mar. 2020,
3. “Adult Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Feb. 2020,

Tastes Natural Selected for Plug and Play’s Highly-Selective Food Batch Accelerator Program

CONTACT: HENRY SCHAFFER, 203.942.2688, [email protected]

Tastes Natural, LLC. Selected for Plug and Play’s Highly-Selective Food Batch Accelerator Program

DANBURY, CT — Tastes Natural, LLC. has been accepted into Plug and Play’s highly-selective Food Accelerator Program. Tastes Natural offers proprietary taste modulation flavorings, extracts, and technologies that erase bitterness and other negative flavors, improve taste profiles, and reduce the need for sugar, salt, and other additives. Products are allergen-free, gluten-free, non GMO and Kosher. Tastes Natural products are used in food, beverages, condiments, alternative sweeteners, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals (e.g., a product containing a health-giving or medical benefit), cannabis, etc.

“We are very excited that our taste modulation technology was recognized by Plug and Play’s corporate sponsors as unique and worthy of their support,” says Henry Schaffer, co-founder and CEO of Tastes Natural. “Being a part of the Accelerator Program provides Tastes Natural with an ecosystem of support and the opportunity to collaborate one-on-one with their extensive network of corporate partners, venture capital (VC) firms, and other startups.”

Selection Process

Plug and Play’s Food Accelerator Program is invitation-only and supported by corporate and institutional sponsors, including Pepsico, Tyson, DuPont, Chick-fil-A, Hershey’s, Ocean Spray, and RedBull. Of the 1,000 startups evaluated for the program, only 24 are invited to participate in the Selection Day presentations. Tastes Natural was one of 15 startups advanced into the program.

About Tastes Natural
Tastes Natural utilizes its patent-pending process to extract all-natural active ingredients that block negative tastes through both reactive and masking technologies. Tastes Natural also produces a revolutionary line of sugar and sodium replacement products. For more information, visit

About Plug and Play
Plug and Play is the ultimate innovation platform, bringing together the best startups and the world’s largest corporations. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play offers accelerator programs, corporate innovation services, and in-house venture capital. Since its inception in 2006, Plug and Play’s programs have expanded worldwide to 25 locations supporting more than 10,000 startups with more than 300 official corporate partners. Plug and Play provides active investments with 200 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and hosts more than 700 networking events per year. Companies in the Plug and Play community have raised more than seven billion dollars in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club, and PayPal. For more information, visit


Introducing TruBLOCK™, A Revolution in Taste Modulation

TruBLOCK™ is our newest and most powerful taste modulation product. Derived from our patent-pending process that produces innovative, all-natural ingredients, TruBLOCK™ combines both our Reactive and Modulating technologies. This approach enables your products to achieve the best taste possible while still supporting your clean-label needs.

This approach enables your products to achieve the best taste possible while still supporting your clean-label needs.

Our proprietary, reactive process enables TruBLOCK™ to bind with the negative tasting compounds in your application making them undetectable to the tongue. TruBLOCK™ then drops off in the digestive system resulting in no effect on your application’s bioavailability.

Available in various concentrations to meet all your application needs.


TruBLOCK™ is listed as a Natural Flavor.

Please Contact Us to request your complimentary sample.

Diet Is the Leading Cause of Mortality in the United States

Junk Food

Tastes Natural is dedicated to improving the health of all of us by providing all natural sugar and sodium replacement that tastes as good as the originals.  Our mission is growing in importance as more and more studies confirm that what we eat is the cause of our largest health issues.  This New York Times article summarizes how our diet is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Our Food Is Killing Too Many of Us

Improving American nutrition would make the biggest impact on our health care.

By Dariush Mozaffarian and Dan Glickman

Mr. Mozaffarian is dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Mr. Glickman was the secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001.

The Democratic debate on health care has to date centered around who should be covered and who should pay the bill. That debate, which has been going on for decades, has no clear answers and cannot be easily resolved because of two fundamental realities: Health care is expensive, and Americans are sick.

Americans benefit from highly trained personnel, remarkable facilities and access to the newest drugs and technologies. Unless we eliminate some of these benefits, our health care will remain costly. We can trim around the edges — for example, with changes in drug pricing, lower administrative costs, reductions in payments to hospitals and providers, and fewer defensive and unnecessary procedures. These actions may slow the rise in health care spending, but costs will keep rising as the population ages and technology advances.

And Americans are sick — much sicker than many realize. More than 100 million adults — almost half the entire adult population — have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Cardiovascular disease afflicts about 122 million people and causes roughly 840,000 deaths each year, or about 2,300 deaths each day. Three in four adults are overweight or obese. More Americans are sick, in other words, than are healthy.

Instead of debating who should pay for all this, no one is asking the far more simple and imperative question: What is making us so sick, and how can we reverse this so we need less health care? The answer is staring us in the face, on average three times a day: our food.

Poor diet is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, causing more than half a million deaths per year. Just 10 dietary factors are estimated to cause nearly 1,000 deaths every day from heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone. These conditions are dizzyingly expensive. Cardiovascular disease costs $351 billion annually in health care spending and lost productivity, while diabetes costs $327 billion annually. The total economic cost of obesity is estimated at $1.72 trillion per year, or 9.3 percent of gross domestic product.

These human and economic costs are leading drivers of ever-rising health care spending, strangled government budgets, diminished competitiveness of American business and reduced military readiness.

Fortunately, advances in nutrition science and policy now provide a road map for addressing this national nutrition crisis. The “Food Is Medicine” solutions are win-win, promoting better well-being, lower health care costs, greater sustainability, reduced disparities among population groups, improved economic competitiveness and greater national security.

Some simple, measurable improvements can be made in several health and related areas. For example, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurers and hospitals should include nutrition in any electronic health record; update medical training, licensing and continuing education guidelines to put an emphasis on nutrition; offer patient prescription programs for healthy produce; and, for the sickest patients, cover home-delivered, medically tailored meals. Just the last action, for example, can save a net $9,000 in health care costs per patient per year.

Taxes on sugary beverages and junk food would help lower health care costs.

Taxes on sugary beverages and junk food can be paired with subsidies on protective foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, plant oils, whole grains, yogurt and fish. Emphasizing protective foods represents an important positive message for the public and food industry that celebrates and rewards good nutrition. Levels of harmful additives like sodium, added sugar and trans fat can be lowered through voluntary industry targets or regulatory safety standards.

Nutrition standards in schools, which have improved the quality of school meals by 41 percent, should be strengthened; the national Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program should be extended beyond elementary schools to middle and high schools; and school garden programs should be expanded. And the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which supports grocery purchases for nearly one in eight Americans, should be leveraged to help improve diet quality and health.

The private sector can also play a key role. Changes in shareholder criteria (e.g., B-Corps, in which a corporation can balance profit versus purpose with high social and environmental standards) and new investor coalitions should financially reward companies for tackling obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illness. Public-private partnerships should emphasize research and development on best agricultural and food-processing practices. All work sites should demand healthy food when negotiating with cafeteria vendors and include incentives for healthy eating in their wellness benefits.

Coordinated federal leadership and funding for research is also essential. This could include, for example, a new National Institute of Nutrition at the National Institutes of Health. Without such an effort, it could take many decades to understand and utilize exciting new areas, including related to food processing, the gut microbiome, allergies and autoimmune disorders, cancer, brain health, treatment of battlefield injuries and effects of nonnutritive sweeteners and personalized nutrition.

Government plays a crucial role. The significant impacts of the food system on well-being, health care spending, the economy and the environment — together with mounting public and industry awareness of these issues — have created an opportunity for government leaders to champion real solutions.

Yet with rare exceptions, the current presidential candidates are not being asked about these critical national issues. Every candidate should have a food platform, and every debate should explore these positions. A new emphasis on the problems and promise of nutrition to improve health and lower health care costs is long overdue for the presidential primary debates and should be prominent in the 2020 general election and the next administration.