Consumers in the mood for natural mind-health solutions

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

getty | Madeleine Steinbach
getty | Madeleine Steinbach

Related tags stress management mood COVID-19 Innovation Trends

SIRIO has identified hops, saffron, and hempseed oil as rising stars when it comes to ingredients that help support focus, mood and calm.

The global nutraceutical manufacturing firm says it is rapidly intensifying efforts to create new formulations in different delivery formats for mood and stress relief following a year of lockdowns.

These lockdowns, and the constant negative news that has come with them, have led to a rise in demand for products that boost mood and reduce stress in strong demand.

The firm's 'Nutra-Innovation Team',​ consisting of scientists and industry experts across North America, Europe and China, work together on developing solutions around emerging global trends, allowing brands to respond quickly without compromising on quality.

In Europe, the Nutra-Innovation Team has identified hops, saffron, and hempseed oil as rising stars - ingredients that help support focus, mood and calm, and meet the growing consumer demand for natural, plant-based products.

Dr. Rhoda El Khoury​Scientific Marketing Manager at SIRIO Europe, explains that these ingredients offer that perfect mix of respected history and strong new science, making them the perfect targets for innovation.

"There is interest as all these ingredients have been used traditionally for their health benefits. For example, hops as a sedative, saffron for brain health and pain management, and hempseed is well known also.

"What the SIRIO team is doing is reviewing these traditional ingredients and combining them with new research and scientific evidence to support their uses. It makes for a much more powerful user case for our customers when we can explore traditional ingredients with a strong evidence base. European consumers want quality, sustainable and environmentally friendly products, but also a proven efficacy.

"While these ingredients have been in existence for a long time, we believe many of them are currently underutilised and the clinical evidence base we are looking at is very new – so there is a lot of scope for potential growth. Once we see brands and consumers become more aware of these benefits, we are likely to see many new products enter the market as they fit well with existing trends for natural mood and health formulations."

As such, SIRIO Europe will be introducing new softgel products with these ingredients by the summer of 2021.

“SIRIO is dedicated to the research and development of novel products. We work on identifying key consumer health categories and introducing innovative product solutions for our customers using new or existing ingredients that have been studied for safety and efficacy”,​ commented Dominique Baum, PhD, Managing Director of SIRIO Europe.

In China, the team is developing a line of gummy products using new gummy technologies. For example, the team has developed a center-filled, plant-based and sugar-free gummy product that promotes relaxation and calm before sleep. The main active ingredients are GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) and theanine. The flavor profile of the product is scientifically designed - peach and oolong tea in the filling and jasmine and lavender in the outer layer. This leads to a multidimensional experience for consumers.

Meanwhile, in the US, the team has identified Ashwagandha, a traditional Ayurvedic herb shown to help relieve stress and support relaxation, as a leader in the category of stress management, according to the team.

The global opportunity

Just last month, NI reported​ that a recent global consumer survey by Euromonitor International​, looking into how the pandemic has impacted consumer perceptions and purchasing habits, revealed that consumers rank ‘mental wellbeing’ as their top health concern in 2021.

When consumers were asked what ‘being healthy’ means to them, ‘mental wellbeing’ was chosen by 64% of respondents, closely followed by ‘having a healthy immune system’ (63%). 'Feeling good' was chosen by 59%, as was ‘getting enough sleep'.

These choices are in-keeping with the largely reported increasing demand for 'holistic health'.  Stress is a factor that consumers across the globe have rated as a critical concern and Euromonitor’s survey reveals that 57% of global respondents suffer with at least ‘moderate’ levels of stress.

Matt Oster, head of consumer health at Euromonitor, explained this is being met with a rise in number of respondents who are dissatisfied with products for stress reduction, suggesting an opportunity for innovation.

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