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Monitor: Brain health supplements see growth from two directions

Interest in brain health is shared across generations, explaining strong sales growth in brain health supplements. Take a look at the data.

Rick Polito, Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

August 30, 2023

3 Min Read
Industry Health Monitor feature image effective 8/31/2023

Interest in brain health is shared across generations, explaining strong sales growth in brain health supplements. Take a look at the data.

The market for brain health supplements has long been seen as perhaps two markets, each with their own goals and concerns, one fueled by aspiration and the other by desperation. Data in the Nutrition Business Journal's new Condition Specific Report suggests the twin drivers of brain health sales might be meeting in the middle, or at least the mainstream.

As a result, brain health is a bright spot for the supplement industry. NBJ tracked 7.2% sales growth for brain health in 2022, when the overall industry grew at just 1.9%. Mainstreaming helps explain that growth, something that becomes obvious as New Hope Network research reveals interest in brain health is shared across generations.


Brain health supplements see growth from both older and younger age groups, according to the NBJ Condition Specific Report 2023.uuid-5b4b11e4-0a5f-4cd4-ab3d-d490f8ecdff2 {border:none; }

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Mention cognitive health to most people and they might think of commercials for Prevagen and the like, all featuring older consumers telling stories of failing memory followed by a lite version of the science. As one supplement industry insider jokes, "Four out of five jellyfish recommend Prevagen."

Related:Monitor: Sleep support sales fall but consumers' faith stays strong

But another slice of the market, with ambitions of boosting their brain power rather than just hanging onto it, is also a factor in cognitive health. It might be these consumers, only recently emerging from neurohacker chat rooms, helping move the concept closer to the mainstream where brands can court consumers not driven by the fear of memory loss and decline.

That consumer interest in buying brain health products is so evenly shared across generations suggests there is room for growth across the memory and performance spectrum, as seen in New Hope Network's NEXT Trends & Innovation Report. All age groups showed substantially more interest in brain health products in 2023 than in a 2020 survey. However, consumers ages 18 to 34 were nearly as likely to show purchase intent as consumers 55 to 75—telling us that brain health's appeal has grown far beyond the Prevagen target audience. Indeed, consumers ranked brain health in the top three trends by interest.

It's difficult to tease out exactly how much growth for the condition category is coming from consumers chasing better mental performance and not guarding against decline, but NBJ is seeing brands that market mental performance exhibiting strong growth. One of them, Neurohoacker Collective, claims 30% growth year over year.

Growth for the brain health category easily outpaced sales growth for supplements marketed for sleep and heart health support. Much of the brain health action happens online, with gains for the direct-to-consumer channels hitting double digits for the last three years. That could be another sign that younger consumers seeking a mental edge are expanding the market.

Brain health is just one of 19 conditions covered in the 20-chapter NBJ Condition Specific Report. It also uncovers interesting developments in weight management, menopause and children's health—and provides a deep drive into why consumers are buying particular supplements.

 2024 Trends & InnovationsNew Hope Network's NEXT Trends & Innovations provides an in-depth look at where consumers focus their intent to purchase products across the natural products industry. Click here to learn more and purchase it.

About the Author(s)

Rick Polito

Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

As Nutrition Business Journal's editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people.

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