American consumers want their brains to stay sharp, and they are looking to nutrition for help.
A Datamonitor Consumer 2014 global survey found memory loss was the number one health concern of American consumers, as 31 percent noted they were “concerned about the possibility of it happening in the future."
The complexity of the mind and market have led to a variety of ingredients that help address cognitive function. Traditional ingredients like Ginkgo biloba and omega-3s still have traction in this area. “Not too long ago, Ginkgo biloba was the most prominent natural ingredient associated with cognitive support," said Annie Eng, CEO, HP Ingredients. “Omega-3 DHA [docosahexaenoic acid] and EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid] (with more prominence on DHA), have grown in this sector due primarily to tremendous research, and the fact that the human brain contains a significant amount of DHA."
Botanicals, such as Bacopa monniera, Centella asiatica, griffonia and turmeric, offer the most interesting landscape of cognitive health ingredients, according to Anurag Pande, Ph.D., vice president scientific affairs, Sabinsa. While Gunny Sodhi, vice president, Ayush Herbs, noted the ayurvedic herb ashwagandha is also a top-seller in the natural cognitive health market.
Whatever ingredients that enter this space, to make an effect, they need to have research. “Ingredients that can point to well-designed clinical and safety studies are doing better in the cognitive health market," said Corey Jansen, global product manager, human nutrition and health, Kemin. “These studies are even more critical when considering this market since consumers are very cautious and skeptical about products they purchase for brain health. If there's any question about whether an ingredient really works or may be unsafe, consumers are less likely to purchase."
Encouraging new consumers to try brain health products requires educated marketing efforts.
Kevin Duffy, sales and marketing analyst BioPQQ, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America, noted successful brands explain ingredient functions and tie those functions into an appealing story. “We need to find more creative and succinct ways of explaining why the functions of certain ingredients are good for the brain, and how they will then improve our lifestyles. Gingko may improve circulation, but how is that good for my brain?"
Learn more tips about marketing brain health products in the article “Marketing Smarts" in INSIDER’s Cognition Content Library.