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In the Aisle: Beverages on the front line of mental wellness

Long a showcase for innovation, beverages are now formulated to boost mood, support brain health, enhance focus, ease stress and anxiety, and soothe consumers.

Adrienne Smith, Content Director

February 7, 2023

17 Slides

Today, we are in the midst of a mental wellness revolution, one that is arguably long overdue.

Once a taboo topic, mental health has been slowly shedding its stigma and becoming more talked-about in recent years. But the COVID-19 pandemic has opened the floodgates.

Now more than ever, people are sharing their experiences with mental illness—the highs, the lows and everything in between. They are also talking more freely about everyday stress, anxiety, sadness, mood fluctuations and sleep struggles, as well as the impact these states have on their physical health and overall quality of life. More consumers are investing the time and energy to learn about the myriad influencers of mental wellness, and they are making healthy choices to support it.

Yes, it may have taken a global pandemic to turbocharge this movement. But the fact that so many more people are now discussing mental health—openly, candidly, shamelessly—can only help to improve our collective well-being.

The saying might be “food is medicine,” but in today’s landscape of functional products, beverages are leading the way with a vast array of convenient options to support consumers on their road to mental and physical well-being.

RTD beverages have long been a showcase for industry innovation, with evocative new flavor profiles, tantalizing ingredients and condition-specific functions. But now many are also formulated to boost mood, support brain health, enhance focus, ease stress and anxiety, and soothe consumers into a relaxing sleep. But it’s not just RTD products boasting these attributes. Traditional coffee and tea categories are brewing up a range of options that offer added functional benefits (mushroom coffee, anyone?) and/or support mood and sleep by reducing or eliminating caffeine. Drink powders are becoming the new functional beverage powerhouses, offering consumers versatility in terms of both preparation and application—hot or cold, in smoothies, on cereal or in baked goods—through blends formulated to address an array of modern-day maladies.

Related:In the Aisle: Supplements supporting the mental wellness revolution

Collectively, these products continue to blur the line between supplement and beverage, thanks to brands’ growing commitments to transparency around efficacious amounts of functional ingredients. Click through the gallery to see a selection of functional beverages.


natural products expo west

Don't miss The State of Supplements session and panel discussion at 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, March 8, in Grand Ballroom F at the Marriot. Start with coffee and networking before settling in for data-driven insights into the top trends and opportunities in the supplement industry. In addition, Innovations in Functional Beverages: Insights & Retail Opportunities, will begin at 2 p.m. PT that day, also in Grand Ballroom F at the Marriot.

Visit the Natural Products Expo West agenda for information about other supplements-related sessions that day. Conference Experience upgrade required.

About the Author(s)

Adrienne Smith

Content Director, New Hope Network

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