“Highly recognizable terms like ‘memory pill’ and ‘brain supplement’ are starting to sound flat and dated,” Dave Wright, director of Mind Lab Pro’s parent company Opti-Nutra, told NutraIngredients-USA.
He said that the term nootropic better reflects the rapidly expanding and evolving nature of the brain supplement category, and distances the brand from what he called “your grandmother’s memory pill.”
“Far more than a traditional memory pill or brain supplement, a nootropic stack can support many different cognitive functions like focus, alertness, relaxation, creativity, mood, motivation, and so on, helping any demographic—especially in the context of performance,” he said.
Nootropic was coined by Romanian scientist Corneliu Giurgea while studying the pharmaceutical agent piracetam back in the 1970s, by combining the Greek words for 'mind' and 'bending.'
The term has been gaining some traction among consumers. Looking at Google Trends data, collecting searches for the term beginning in 2004, there’s been an upward trajectory for 'nootropic' since the summer of 2011.
It is still not yet a household word, Wright added, “but that mystery only adds to its sex appeal and marketing sizzle.”
A product featuring branded ingredients
Mind Lab Pro is marketed as a ‘Universal Nootropic’ and comes in capsule form. On its packaging, it says ‘focus, memory, clarity.’
The supplement contains Kyowa-Hakko’s branded citicoline Cognizin as well as Taiyo International’s branded L-theanine Suntheanine, among other things. It also contains botanical stalwarts for the category like Bacopa monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea.
On its website, the company explains to consumers why it has a preference for branded ingredients over generic.
“Branded ingredients are typically more potent than their plain counterparts,” the company’s FAQ page reads.
“This potency may come by using a more active form of a nutrient, a delivery system that is more advanced, or a form that is more bioavailable. Not all branded ingredients are great, but Mind Lab Pro has taken the time to identify and source the best branded nootropics in the world.”
Appeal of the category
Opti-Nutra is a London-based portfolio company established in 2015. In addition to its finished product brand, the company also has a contract manufacturing facility and supplies its own patented BioGenesis vitamin and mineral essentials.
Mind Lab Pro won’t be Opti-Nutra’s sole finished product brand for long. The company has trademarked the brand name Performance Lab for a new line that will include products in multiple categories like sports, vision, healthy weight management, testosterone and more, Wright said.
But the nootropic Mind Lab Pro was the company’s debut product. “More than any other category, nootropic brain supplements—when well-designed—hold the potential to directly and dramatically enhance every single aspect of consumers’ overall life performance,” he said.
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From college students to creatives to coders
Wright said he thinks the future for the nootropics category is bright. “The world is changing so quickly right now, and you need a sharp mind to keep up. Academic and professional performance is more competitive than ever,” he said.
Mind Lab Pro targets students, entrepreneurs, athletes, competitors, professionals, and active adults over the age of 55, among others.
When it comes to demographics that will drive this growth, Wright cited college students as a key group, followed by athletes, creatives, coders, and older adults.
“Off-label abuse of prescription stimulants is widespread in academics, despite being dangerous and illegal. We anticipate smart students will be seeking safe, legal and healthy ways to support their academic performance, instead,” he said.
Direct to consumer… but no Amazon
The Mind Lab Pro nootropic supplement is sold online directly to consumers worldwide. While many companies supplement sales from their website with an Amazon storefront, Mind Lab Pro chose to eschew selling on the ecommerce giant’s platform strategically.
“Amazon is not always discerning about which nootropics can be featured on its site, and we do not want Mind Lab Pro to appear alongside (and therefore be associated with) low-quality junk products,” the company explained on its FAQ page.
“Amazon is also a ‘Wild West’ environment in ways, where reviews are easily manipulated by jealous competitors.”