Mental and emotional wellbeing: Targeting the ‘feel good’ factor and specific mood needs

‘Mood: The Next Occasion’ is Innova’s #7 trend for 2021. Recent events have had a significant effect on mental wellbeing, with many people facing increased rates of anxiety off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic as fears around health, wealth and loneliness have surfaced. The food and beverage industry is playing a part in tackling mental unease, with mood-boosting products ranging from those formulated and promoted to aid a general ‘feel good’ factor to those targeting more specific mood worries, such as anxiety, stress and poor sleep.

Innova’s Lifestyle & Attitudes Survey (2020) showed that global consumers in 10 countries had taken a number of steps to improve their mental and/or emotional wellbeing over the previous 12 months. An average of around one-quarter of respondents claim they have adapted their diet/nutrition (30%), chosen foods or beverages that offer comfort (25%) and taken supplements (25%).

Within the brain-mood food and beverage and supplements arena, there are several key areas of interest. The use of natural botanicals is a traditional form of remedy, but the shift in terminology to the on-trend buzzwords of adaptogens (which support the body’s ability to deal with stress) and nootropics (which enhance or boost brain performance) is gaining attention from innovators. Indeed, packaged food and beverage launches using such terms have risen significantly over the past five years. The growth in popularity of ashwagandha – an herb used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine – in recent NPD shows how traditional adaptogens are becoming mainstream ingredients in mood-regulating supplements and foods. Les Laboratoires Superdiet in France introduced an Ayurveda organic ashwagandha dietary supplement earlier this year.

Superdiet Ayurveda Organic Ashwagandha Dietary Supplement (France, Mar 2021), Garden Of Life Dr Formulated Cbd Probiotics Stress Relief Hemp Supplement (United States, Sep 2020), Irwin Naturals Cbd Plus Immuno Shield Dietary Supplement (United States, Jun 2021).
Superdiet Ayurveda Organic Ashwagandha Dietary Supplement (002).jpg

An increased understanding of how the gut and brain are connected via the enteric nervous system is also broadening the use of probiotics in mood-elevating products, rather than being centered on digestive/gut health. With 47% of global consumers considering that a healthy digestive system can improve mood and emotional wellbeing and 46% thinking it can reduce stress, the combination of probiotics with adaptogens is likely to gain more attention from innovators. For example, in the US, Garden Of Life launched a supplement that combines 11 probiotic strains with CBD to help with digestion, immunity and stress management.

CBD is a noticeable area of importance. Interestingly, NPD in the food and drink arena containing CBD as an ingredient has leveled off over the past couple of years, while in the supplements category it is shifting to being utilized in conjunction with ingredients for immune health, such as the US launch of CBD Plus Immuno-Shield from Irwin Naturals.
It is perhaps the use of an array of ingredients that tackle both mental and physical needs that will drive the category and appeal to consumers looking for complementary products as part of a more holistic approach to their overall wellbeing.

“Mood: The Next Occasion” is a new Trends Insider report from Innova Market Insights. It looks at the growing importance of mood health claims across the packaged food and beverage and supplements categories, reviewing consumer attitudes to mental wellbeing and highlighting product and ingredient trends.

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