Nootropics: The not so new beverage buzzword of 2019

 In Blog, Food & Beverage Trends

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 65 seconds, reinforcing that cognitive health – from mood to memory is of paramount concern to consumers across age demographics. While a combination of nature and nurture may influence a potential diagnosis, more products are coming to market that claim to be able to counteract the effects of or delay cognitive decline, or potentially have a positive impact to one’s brain health, at least in the short term. The ingredients gaining momentum are interchangeably referred to as ‘smart drugs’ and nootropics. Amino acids, nutrients and minerals that are thought to directly support cognitive function fall into this category. Some of the most well-known nootropics include L-theanine (an amino acid naturally found in matcha), choline (sources of which include eggs and peanuts), caffeine, and a slew of medicinal mushrooms including lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi.

Consumers are definitely looking for more information on these ingredients; google searches for nootropics and smart drugs have averaged 110,000 and 18,100 a month, respectively, for the past 12 months. Since many of the ingredients that fall into this category may not have GRAS status, the claims products can make are restricted, forcing many of these products to maintain supplement status. As consumers wade through this nascent, but growing segment, trying to understand what best suits their needs, they may be confronted with creative naming tactics, including brands using naming conventions that feature brain-related terminology and using their packaging as a platform to introduce the word nootropic to the masses. Here are a few market products already capitalizing on the need for mental speed:

Brand: Rowdy Mermaid
Product messaging: n/a
Brain Game: lion’s mane

Brand: Koios
Product messaging: “Kombucha for your brain,” Brain Support, Nootropics
Brain Game: proprietary blend includes lion’s mane, panax ginseng root, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, MCTs

Brand: LGND
Product messaging: Silk Nootropic Energy
Brain Game: A nootropic blend that includes acetyl L-carnitine HCL, alpha GPC and citicoline

Brand: Synapse
Product messaging: natural cognitive boost
Brain Game: blend includes bacopa monnieri, alpha-gpc, creatine and L-theanine

Brand: truBrain
Product messaging: 1 oz. boost shot, active nootropics
Brain Game: L-theanine, acetyl L-carnitine


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