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Monitor: Data-driven tips for success in functional food and beverages

Nutrition Business Journal's newest report on functional foods and beverages provides data to help brands crack open this market. Learn more.

Amanda Hartt, Researcher | Data Analyst | Strategic Thinker

October 6, 2023

2 Min Read
Industry Health Monitor provides fresh consumer research to help brands learn more about natural and organic markets.

Momentum behind products that support brain health continues to mount, with evidence for blossoming consumer interest showing up in all corners of the natural and organic products industry.

In research New Hope Network conducted this summer to assess the functional food and beverage markets trajectory, 42% of consumers said mental health, mood and stress represented top health concerns they are addressing through functional food and beverage. This ranks strongly in the fourth spot, after the overall wellness, energy and immunity trends.


The research shows that consumers gravitate toward well-known products like B, C, and D vitamins as well as mainstreaming stars like probiotics, prebiotics and collagen. Only 11% – 17% of consumers, the early adopters, are seeking emerging functional ingredients such as mushrooms and ashwagandha. In all cases, about 60% of consumers hold concerns about the effectiveness of functional products, the quality of ingredients and a lack of transparency. 

Brands hoping to bring emerging mood-supporting formulations to market, should deploy a transparent, science-backed marketing and educational campaign to guide the adoption of new ingredients that mainstream consumers don't yet recognize. Today's consumers seek products that support mood and mental health, so brands would do well to meet them where they are on their product discovery journey and proactively address their concerns about unfamiliar ingredients.

Just off the heels of Natural Products Expo East, here are a couple of notable innovators demonstrating how they tread the innovation path with emerging ingredients in the mood and mental health space.

Rowdy Mermaid

Kombucha beverage brand Rowdy Mermaid now offers a new line of good mood sodas, formulated with 200 mg of KSM-66 organic ashwagandha extract per can. The company isn’t just referencing the well-researched and branded ingredient and moving on; the Rowdy Mermaid website advises consumers that “clinical studies show that 125 mg per day significantly reduces experiential and biochemical indicators of stress without adverse effects.”

Centr Enhanced

As an Expo East 2023 NEXTY finalist, this brand is doing a lot right. Turning to enhanced function through sparkling waters, Centr innovates with centuries-old ingredients used around the world to boost mood and cognitive function (sceletium, ginseng, astragalus, GABA). The brand showcases science-backed, branded versions of the ingredients on the label. Even better, the label clearly states the precise and efficacious doses.

To learn more about the functional food and beverage market, click here to preview and purchase New Hope Network's Special Report: Functional Food and Beverage.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Hartt

Researcher | Data Analyst | Strategic Thinker

Amanda brings 10+ years of experience in research and consulting roles, working for both SPINS and New Hope Network to track and grow the natural products industry. With an MS in Food Policy, Amanda looks at the dimensionality of marketplace challenges to grow and transform food systems to build thriving communities.

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