6 Ways to Be Relevant to Consumers Who Fast

In the food and beverage industry, we’re constantly thinking about how to align with “it” foods and beverages, but we never stop to think about how to align with consumers when they’re Not. Eating. Anything. While fasting has been part of food culture for centuries via hunter-gatherers, historical purification rituals, annual religious observances, and even hunger strikes,1 a practice called “intermittent fasting” is the incarnation of modern day.2 Not only was it considered the top U.S. diet trend in 2020, but it had slightly more participants than keto (10% vs. 8% of U.S. adults, respectively).3

What’s driving the trend? A few things.

Weight loss, without
the hassle

The lack of complicated rules and restrictions, calorie tracking and the ability to eat normally on non-fasting days is not only easier, but psychologically more positive than typical dieting.4

Health benefits

Recently, NFL star Ndamukong Suh credited intermittent fasting with a reduction in inflammation, and therefore injuries.5  Other reported benefits include weight loss, brain and heart health.6

Image Credit: The New York Times


Unlike other “diets”, intermittent fasting has more than one approach. The point is to skip meals for an extended period of time – whether that’s to quit eating at a certain time of day, skip a meal, dramatically restrict calories a few days a week, or quit eating altogether for a day or more – it’s a flexible, individual choice.

Celebrity culture

A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Gisele Bündchen, Kourtney Kardashian, Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon swear by it, which then triggers mainstream curiosity.7

By this point, we bet you’re wondering, “If this is about abstinence, how can a food or beverage brand get involved?” If you’re marketing or developing any of the items mentioned below, we encourage you to think about the claims that could better position you for this trend. Below are 6 ideas to support the body before, during and after the fast.

  1. Be a partner in preparation. Nutritionists suggest loading up on high fiber and protein foods such as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, or tofu, in order to feel full longer before or in between fasts.8  More specifically, the Mediterranean9 and Pesco-Mediterranean10 diets are considered the perfect complements.11
  2. Promote hydration. Outside of certain religion-based fasts, liquids are not only permitted, but encouraged during the fasting period. Nutrition experts recommend those that replenish electrolytes, like coconut, watermelon, zero-calorie flavored waters, cow’s milk, and sports drinks. To curb hunger, bulletproof coffee with added fats, bone broths containing sodium,12 or diluted apple cider vinegar13 could provide relief.
  3. Close the gap on deficiencies. Fasting is fertile ground for functional beverages and nutritional supplements, and functional foods may even be able to expedite recovery.
  4. Mimic the fast. Fast Bar® is an example of an innovative product designed to trick the body into thinking it’s fasting, while supplying nutrients that go undetected by the body as food, purporting all the benefits of fasting, without the hunger.14
  5. Help break the fast. Experts recommend easing into it with “gentle foods” like smoothies, dried fruits, soups, soft and starchy vegetables and healthy fats.15
  6. Consider opportunities around religious fasting traditions. Lent (Christian), Yom Kippur (Jewish), Ramadan (Islamic), and Ekadashi (Hindu) all incorporate fasting rituals.

[1] “The Motivation for Fasting”, James Schoonmaker, 3/15/2015
[2] “Intermittent Fasting”, Johns Hopkins University Medicine, 2022
[3] “IFIC: Intermittent Fasting Replaces Clean Eating as Most Popular Diet, Presents Marketing Challenges”, Elizabeth Crawford, 6/16/2020
[4] “Not so fast: Pros and cons of the newest diet trend”, Harvard University, 7/31/19
[5] “A 315-pound NFL player who has never missed a game to injury says intermittent fasting keeps him in peak condition”, Insider, 1/14/22
[6] “The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting”, Jane Brody, 2/17/2020
[7] “9 Celebrities Who Swear By Intermittent Fasting”, Marie Claire, 10/16/20
[8] “4 tips to keep an intermittent fasting diet on track”, NBC Today Show, 7/05/18
[9] “Doctors Declare Mediterranean Diet Plus Intermittent Fasting is Ideal for a Healthy Heart”, A. Pawlowski, 9/20/2020
[10] “A Pesco-Mediterranean Diet and Intermittent Fasting Can Help Your Heart”, Healthline, 9/16/20
[11] “Guide to Managing Hunger, While Intermittent Fasting”, Span Health, 9/08/21
[12] “Guide to Managing Hunger, While Intermittent Fasting”, Span Health, 9/08/21
[13] “What Breaks a Fast? Foods, Drinks, and Supplements”, Lauren Panoff, 9/26/2019
[14] Prolonfast.com
[15] “What Breaks a Fast? Foods, Drinks, and Supplements”, Lauren Panoff, 9/26/2019