Set to launch at the end of March, Denmark-based Clutch Cognition will offer a range of nootropic drinks that are free-from sweetener, high GI sugar or caffeine, to provide a sustained energy boost for the brain.
Molecular biologist Rune Laursen says the Clutch cogs started turning while he was working as a performance nutrition scientist for Arla Foods.
“I was tasked with coming up with the ultimate performance enhancing natural supplement for professional athletes.
"This meant that on a daily basis I was reading through clinical evidence behind different ingredients with the mission of finding out what works best in terms of performance enhancement and that’s when I began to question the energy drinks and sports performance supplements on the market.”
Joining cognitive forces with his wife Janni Møller, a medical doctor with a passion for nutrition, and Søren Michael Lange, a nutrition product developer, Laursen began researching how to create a natural brain aid that offered slow-release energy and true nutritional value.
Around two years ago, Laursen quit the full-time corporate job he was in at the time in order to concentrate on the venture and the team has since gained the backing of two Danish government innovation funds and brought a full time marketing expert on-board.
After four years in the making, Clutch Cognition is set to launch with a two-strong range of botanical infused drinks at the end of March this year and the team has high hopes for its wide-ranging appeal.
“Our initial focus will be Denmark but we will be available online with marketing in English as we hope to quickly expand internationally.
“We see several target audiences – Energy drinks already strongly appeal to the everyday consumer, especially white collar workers, so we can see this as being a big opportunity target market.
"Athletes are another potential market although we will need to work hard to differentiate our product from other 'energy drinks' on the market. Most people who are educated about health and nutrition tend to avoid these drinks because they are laden with caffeine, sugar and sweeteners.
“Another promising segment is the esports market which is huge and many gamers are interested in healthier alternatives to the energy drinks on the market. The fact our solution offers sustenance as well would be appealing to this market.
"I always find it ironic there there can be a drink marketed as an ‘energy drink’ which doesn’t contain any calories – to provide energy – those formulas can just lead to a decline in blood sugar and then you are left craving something sweet. Also, a stable blood sugar, supports cognitive function, particularly attention, as well as general health.”
The brand will launch with two drinks – mango & lemon and sweet lime flavours – with additional flavours in the pipeline, with each providing 26 calories per 100ml (sold as 330ml can).
One of the main active ingredients is ‘Sibelius’ Sage, a high-quality, sage extract with proven cognitive benefits in both young adults and seniors. Clinical research has shown volunteers to experience significant improvement in memory, focus and attention by up to 30% within less than one hour after supplementation.
Another key ingredient is ‘Neurevena’, a patented extract of a variety of wild green oat, with multiple clinical studies documenting its effect on mental acuity parameters like memory, attention, and executive function, particularly in stressful situations.
The addition of Palatinose provides a tailored slow-release energy substrate while guar bean fiber (by Sunfiber) helps to stabilise blood sugar and provide satiety.
Laursen adds: "The products also contain L-theanine from ‘Sunphenon’ TH30, a unique green tea extract that can reduce nervousness and anxiety, which is often times a limiting factor for mental performance when facing decisive challenges. Furthermore, studies show that L-theanine may improve sleep, thus rendering our product even more suitable for use in the late hours, as opposed to caffeinated beverages."