Today, consumers want more from the foods they buy. While health and wellness benefits — increased energy, focus, or relaxation — traditionally were associated with supplements and medications, increasingly, consumers expect these from food.
Our food and beverage clients want to know about ingredient options to address consumers’ interest in energy and mood management. Our clients want insights on ingredients that
- are used in products and may appear in more familiar or acceptable descriptions on the ingredient listing
- have proven benefits based on scientific studies and
- have a robust supply chain to ensure a steady, reasonably priced supply.
While the specific needs vary with each client, they share a primary challenge around understanding ingredients that impact mood: how do we know if the ingredient is effective?
When we work to determine the efficacy of mood-enhancing ingredients, we begin by identifying what ingredients may be applicable to our client’s product and target consumer. We review ingredients in products on the market, research ingredients with certain claims — or both — and then provide the client with a broad range of options. If the client plans to launch products in the next year, we narrow the options based on regulatory approval and supply chain strength.
But does the ingredient work, our clients ask?
As we review and evaluate published scientific studies and interview experts in the field, we can educate our clients about the level of scientific evidence for each ingredient. The evidence ranges from sound scientific studies on human subjects to limited studies on model systems or anecdotal evidence. As not all ingredients have been tested fully in humans, we can also show what additional studies are needed on some ingredients to fully understand the impact on mood and energy.
So, how does the ingredient work, and how can ingredients work together, our clients ask?
After reviewing research on the mode of action for compounds in mood-enhancing ingredients, we advise on the impact of combining ingredients, and of adding a new ingredient to current consumer product formulations.
The research we uncovered and prioritized on ingredients and interactions enabled a client to launch a new product line of three single-serve ready-to-drink beverages within six months of our collaboration. Each beverage used a different combination of mood-enhancing ingredients.
For another client, our work on efficacy was the first step of the innovation process; they are using our insights to evaluate energy and mood ingredients in a variety of food and beverages across both established brands and new brands in their portfolio.
How can we help your organization understand which ingredients are effective? Contact us.