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Functional Foods & Beverages for Men

If recent product launches are any indication, men’s products manufacturers only have one thing on their minds.

Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

At a time when TV commercials for erectile dysfunction medications are about as commonplace as those for fast food restaurants, it should come as no surprise that a predominant chunk of new functional food and beverage launches geared to appeal to men are formulated for heightened prowess between the sheets. Coming in a very distant second are products formulated for fitness enthusiasts.

From a new product launch perspective, the men’s category has been extremely sluggish. It’s tough to say if the market has bottomed out, however according to Productscan Online, the biggest year for men’s functional food and beverage introductions was 2005, when men’s products represented 0.5% of all U.S. food and beverage debuts. Unfortunately, the diversity has waned since 2005. In fact just 1.4% of all U.S. food and beverage product launches since 2004 have targeted men—an interesting figure considering the percentage of foods and beverages geared toward women in the same time span totaled 3.8% of all products launched.

“In general, there are few products that are overtly targeted toward men and that is part of the problem,” commented Tom Vierhile, director, Productscan Online, Datamonitor, Naples, FL. “The other part of the problem is that men seem to be one of the last audiences for functional products of any sort.”

But manufacturers have honed in on the fact that men are primarily interested in functional products that are easy to consume for one of two reasons: to either better their performance in the gym…or in the bedroom.

Sexual Health Products

STP (Stamina to Perform) Cocktails from Ultimate Lifestyles LLC of Plano, TX, launched companion libido beverages for men and women (Natural Male Enhancement Cocktail and Natural Female Libido Cocktail, respectively) that promise 100% satisfaction guaranteed. The male version is chock full of functional ingredients that work synergistically to help the consumer to feel like they’re “25 Again.”

Manufactured in a GMP and NSF-certified facility, the touchstone ingredients in the male cocktail include l-arginine and l-citrulline, which the company said aid in the production of nitric oxide to improve blood circulation to the genital area “thus making erections possible.”

The beverage’s herbal “aphrodisiac” ingredients include Avena sativa extract, which frees “bound testosterone” and “reverses impotence and inhibits premature ejaculation”; epimedium extract, or horny goat weed, for increased erectile blood flow; muira puama, or potency wood, a Brazilian botanical with anti-estrogenic activity used to increase male sexual vitality and potency in men; catuaba extract, another Brazilian libido enhancer that “strengthens and tones” libido by fighting bodily fatigue; mucuna pruriens extract, which contains a standardized level of naturally occurring l-dopa, which is associated with elevated moods, enhanced sexual desire and control of motor skills; yohimbe bark extract; eurycoma longifolia extract (tongkat ali), an Asian herb which has been studied for its ability to increase sexual desire and promote a feeling of well being; and saw palmetto berry extract for the “maintenance of healthy testosterone levels while preventing the conversion of good testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT.” Elevated levels of DHT are said to lead to impotence, male pattern baldness and higher than normal levels of estrogen. In addition, the formula contains maca root extract, cnidium monnier extract, which is said to elicit a relaxing effect on the corpus cavernosa of the penis, which helps with blood flow and erections.

The beverage also contains a combination of niacin (vitamin B3), caffeine and gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) to benefit energy levels and other conditions conducive to sexual activity.

Each Passion Punch-flavored cocktail is presented in a 2-oz. (60ml) bottle flagged, “Maximize stamina, performance and desire.”

Ginger Vanilla flavored Fever All Natural Herbal Fusion Stimulation Beverage from Fever Beverages USA of Trevose, PA, is billed to be the “Ultimate Pleasure Beverage,” formulated to enhance sexual stimulation for both men and women. Made with organic herbs, the drink is said to generate a sense of warmth and stimulation that lasts for hours, making “your feelings seem more intense and your emotions more sensitive.”

The beverage, available in both an Original formula and a new Low Calorie version, is infused with green tea, caffeine, horny goat weed, panax ginseng, clavo huasca, catuaba, damiana leaf, suma, maca and guarana.

The beverage can be consumed straight from its stylish, resealable, 12-fl.-oz. aluminum bottle as a daily beverage or it can be mixed with alcohol. Results are said to occur within 15-30 minutes of consumption and include feelings of “warmth and wellness, as well as stimulation.”

Promotional literature for the Low Calorie variety states, “Created for health conscious consumers, Fever Low Calorie is naturally flavored, containing only 20 calories per 14-oz. serving.” Fever is claimed to contain no artificial ingredients, to have no carbonation, to be low in calories (10 per serving), and to contain herbal ingredients extracted without using chemical processes.

And rounding out the top three sexual stimulation beverages geared to appeal to men is Sex Drive, a premium energy drink that is distributed in the U.S. by Key West, FL-based Sex Drive Energy Products. The “lightly carbonated energy supplement” claims to increase libido in both men and women, increase athletic performance and enhance blood flow to vital organs.

Formulated for daily consumption, the drink is presented in an 8.4-fl.-oz. (250ml) can and contains “17 premium ingredients including: l-arginine, blue lotus, damiana leaf, schisandra berry, maca root, ginseng and horny goat weed.

Functional Fitness Products

Outside of the bedroom, men also want functional products that encourage better results in the gym.

Each 500 ml ready-to-drink Promax Protein Shakes from Promax Nutrition Corp. delivers 33 grams of protein, including whey protein, seven grams of sugar and zero grams of trans fat. The soy-free shakes are available in Double Fudge and Cookies & Cream, French Vanilla and Strawberry flavors and are sold in resealable, single-serve, 16.9 fl. oz. Tetra Pak aseptic drink cartons. Although the company markets the beverages for men and women, Productscan’s Mr. Vierhile said the beverages will no doubt appeal to men thanks to their nutritional profile, convenience and great taste. The suggested retail price is $3.89 each.

And lastly, one final line extension that, although not directly marketed to men, will no doubt appeal to them is the CLIF Bar line extension called CLIF Builders’s. The 68-gram (2.4 oz.) bars span five flavors—Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Cookies ‘n Cream, Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond—and are billed to be “the perfect way to get through a hard day’s work.” Each bar is 270 calories and supplies 20 grams of protein from soy and nuts but contain no trans fats or hydrogenated oils. The bars are also said to contain 23 vitamins and 32-39% organic ingredients.

Much like the women’s functional food and beverage segment, new product entries for men have been sparse. But with an ongoing interest in products that boost performance in the gym and socially (or in the bedroom) the possibility for future new product innovations is interesting, to say the least.
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