As shown at Expo West, consumer trends and perceptions of food have changed in recent years. Consumers are now more holistic with their snack search, looking for healthier ingredients that support not only their physical health but also their mental health. We saw an uptick in protein bar brands using ashwagandha and other adaptogens to address stress, so it’s no surprise that the nootropic market is following a similar upward trend.
With a market size that is expected to reach $29 billion by 2028, there's no denying that nootropic-infused snacks are an area entrepreneurs should keep their eye on. But, what exactly are nootropics and which ones should you look into? Read on to find out more.
What are nootropics?
Nootropics, also known as "cognitive enhancers," refer to certain chemicals that are known for their positive impact on brain-related processes. They are said to improve mood, cognitive function - particularly executive functions - attention, memory, creativity, and motivation. However, the one question on everyone’s minds is: Do nootropics really improve cognitive function?
Do nootropics really work?
It’s hard to say because science is still divided on the answer. There are those who argue that nootropics show evidence of improving brain function and mental performance due to the presence of chemical compounds linked with amplifying different cognitive functions in the brain. Others don’t believe the evidence is strong enough to prove their efficacy and safety due to a lack of large controlled studies. Although findings are inconclusive, the good news is that nootropics do traditionally come with unanimously agreed-upon benefits, which make them an innovative ingredient to consider when formulating your products.
Top 5 Nootropics
Here are the top 5 nootropics that brands can use to make "better-for-you" treats.
1. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is an herb traditionally found in the mountainous areas of Europe and has gained popularity due to its effects on the brain and mood. As consumers become more conscious of the advantages of Rhodiola Rosea, its market value continues to increase. In fact, it’s projected to achieve a value of $68 billion by 2026! Rhodiola Rosea is a nootropic and adaptogen that helps your body effectively handle stress and fatigue by increasing mental performance. Studies show that Rhodiola Rosea can enhance one’s mood and diminish feelings of anxiety and stress.
By incorporating it into your innovative treats, you’ll be able to create a highly functional adaptogenic snack. Although incorporating a new type of herb into your snack selection may seem difficult, partnering with a protein bar co-packer can help you bring your treats to life by equipping you with the latest advancements in food technology.
2. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri is an herb with a long history and tradition in the Ayurvedic medicinal practices of India. For centuries, it has been used as a medicinal herb for an assortment of purposes, such as memory improvement, stress alleviation, and anxiety reduction. With an expected market size of $320 million, Bacopa Monnieri has had an impressive boost in relevance for what was once a local remedy. This is because it is one of the most widely researched and supported nootropics in the market.
Research has shown that Bacopa Monnieri speeds up information processing, improves reaction time, and enhances memory. Not only that but Bacopa Monnieri contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that improve one’s ability to heal and fight disease. Food entrepreneurs looking to stand out from the fray should make use of Bacopa Monnieri in their tasty protein bars, cookies, and more.
L-Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea (specifically, green tea and black tea) as well as mushrooms. Because it is widely known for helping its users relax, increase focus, ease anxiety and stress, and reduce insomnia, the L-Theanine market value has seen incredible growth. On top of all the health benefits L-Theanine provides, there have been studies that show how L-Theanine can improve immune function and inflammation. In a world where stress is a daily part of one’s life, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in L-Theanine because of its ability to increase feelings of calmness. Not only that but it is also associated with increased creativity.
To make the most out of this budding market space, food visionaries should partner with a co-packer to add this ingredient to their protein shakes or toaster pastries. Doing so will allow you to increase revenue and grab the interest of your keto, paleo, and vegan consumers.
Creatine is an amino acid, one of the basic building blocks our bodies use to create proteins. It is traditionally obtained from seafood and red meat and is stored in both the muscles and brain. According to research, “creatine is not only safe but also one of the world’s most popular and effective ingredients for building muscle and strength.” Creatine is also popular for its ability to improve brain health and short-term memory. It provides users with additional energy that enhances both memory and intelligence. Fortunately, it is a versatile ingredient that works with most major diets like keto, paleo, vegan, and many more. Because of this, the demand for creatine has skyrocketed – many consumers now look for creatine in their products.
Need an idea? Brands should think about creating rice crispy treats that contain creatine to capitalize on the growing market and pique the interest of health-conscious consumers who are looking for energy-boosting, fat-burning snacks.
Caffeine is one of the most widely used ingredients in the world. In fact, 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine each day. As you may already know, caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, cacao plants, kola nuts, and guarana. When consumed, it has an immediate effect on one’s reaction times and energy levels because it directly stimulates the central nervous system. Most studies support that the right amount of caffeine intake can enhance alertness and attention, and decrease reaction times. Due to its widespread availability and immense popularity, caffeine can easily be added to your unique sodas and delicious snacks without major concern. Not only that but it works perfectly with all the hottest dietary trends.
Staying relevant in the growing CPG space can be a challenge. That’s why brands need to invest in healthy ingredients that can attract an ample market and work well with a wide variety of diets. Incorporating nootropics into product lines will be a great opportunity for brands and entrepreneurs to put stand out in a saturated market space.
To bring your products to life, start thinking about partnering with a co-manufacturer, like YouBar, that has the capabilities and the certifications to lower costs on your end and ease the entire production process. Contact us today for more information.