Branding for Cognitive Health: A Benefit in High Demand
In a recent survey by Beverage Industry magazine, industry professionals reported that cognitive health was a hot beverage trend in 2016, with 66% of consumers putting as much importance on a healthy mind as a healthy body. While the specific cognitive health benefit may vary based on age group (Millennials are looking for focus and alertness, and Baby Boomers are looking for anti-aging effects and enhanced memory), the desire to delay cognitive decline spans across generations.
A common way that brands communicate their ability to offer cognitive support, without making a controversial or unsubstantiated claim, is by naming a product, or product line, with the benefit the consumer should expect. Whether you want your consumers to have “focus, clarity or memory,” like Braingear boasts of their brain performance formula, or want to deliver some general “braintenance” as Brain Wave does, you will want to talk with a skilled regulatory team and make sure that the ingredients you use are in line with the type of product you’re looking to develop.
Here are a few key ingredients used in beverages and supplements that claim to support brain health:
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) –an omega-3 fatty acid that is a major building block of the part of the brain responsible for memory, language, creativity, emotion and attention. Seniors with high levels of DHA have a significantly reduced risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Citicoline – a naturally occurring compound found in every cell of the body. Increases blood flow to the brain, helps build healthy brain cell membranes, increases brain plasticity, and increases brain energy by firing up your mitochondria. Citicoline supplements can significantly improve memory, concentration, focus, and attention.
- Matcha – powdered green tea packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg. Rich in amino acid L-Theanine which helps enhance learning and memory.
- Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC or ALCAR) – amino acid that protects brain from free radical damage. Associated with improving mental clarity, focus, mood, processing speed, and memory.
- Ginkgo Biloba – increases circulation to the brain, balances brain chemistry, and protects the brain from free radical damage.
Keep in mind that while some cognitive health ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), many are not. The status of the ingredients that you use will affect the claims, whether your product is a food or a supplement, and the overall positioning of your product.