Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

CBD entrepreneur responds to mind health trend with new adaptogenic brand

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Yawns caps
Yawns caps

Related tags Startup company Mind Mental health Sleep adaptogens

The founder of a CBD e-commerce startup is launching his second brand of supplements, this time tapping into adaptogens for mind health.

Alexej Pikovsky, a former investment banker and private equity investor turned CEO of the global CBD e-commerce platform ‘Alphagreen’ launched in October 2019, has added another asset to his portfolio with the natural sleepcare supplements brand Yawns​.

Using only organic, non-GMO, vegan, and all-natural ingredients, the Yawns range includes Night Caps and Day Caps. The Night Caps contain ashwagandha, valerian root, Griffonia seeds, and black pepper, which work together to ease stress and tension, put away racing thoughts, and improve quality of rest.

The Day Caps include a selection of medicinal mushrooms; Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, guarana, Maitake, Shaggy Mane, Reishi, Shiitake, and Oyster. The product has been developed to boost physical performance and improve natural immune defence.

Pikovsky says the team at Alphagreen is always using its database of consumer insights to look for the next big health market opportunity.

He said: “We detected the gap in the market for sleep products with the combination of valerian root, ashwagandha, black pepper and 5HTP.

“Our consumer research also indicated a natural upsell through a nootropic  blend of guarana and performance mushrooms. With interest in sleep and wellbeing growing throughout the pandemic, this is the ideal time and product to serve consumer needs.”

All about data

Alphagreen enjoys excellent insight into consumer purchasing habits, customer preferences, purchase journeys and more. The company has also conducted a number of external and internal surveys via email to gain further insights into active and potential consumers.

For example, Alphagreen conducted a survey of 5,000 consumers [AP4]​  which discovered that 35% of respondents took CBD for pain, 28% took it for anxiety, and 24% took it for sleep.

When looking to develop a product for anxiety, Pikovsky suggests the pleasure involved in the consumption The data also showed that customers buying supplements for sleep want to see the integration of other well-studied and trusted botanicals such as ashwagandha, lavender, chamomile, or ginseng.

The mental health trend

It's well established that consumers became far more conscious of their mental health during the pandemic.

Mandy Saven, ​Director of Consumer Lifestyle, at Stylus, gave a number of stats to back up this trend as part of a virtual presentation at Vitafoods' in October.

She noted that 82% of global consumers identify mental health and emotional health as equally important to physical health, according to IFT (2020).

This has been especially the case amongst the younger cohort. Glanbia reported in 2020 that mental health was the top health benefit of interest amongst supplement users ages 18-34 in the UK and US.

With this, interest in adaptogens has ramped up and online searches for 'adaptogens' increased by 85% YOY in Nov 2020 (Tastewise 2021).

Many startup companies have tapped into this trend by utilising one of the better known types of adaptogen - mushrooms. The UK-based medicinal mushroom infused non-alcoholic beer brand Fungtn​ was one of the first to get its feet under the table with its healthy alcohol replacement. 

Saven said there are a range of other medicinal herbs gaining traction, with 61% of consumers interested in trying ashwagandha and 66% of UK consumers interested in trying Rhodiola.

"Looking to other remedies, the most popular botanical ingredients for improving sleep globally are jasmine, lavender, dandelion, chamomile and ginseng as well as melatonin, magnesium, valerian and lemon balm."


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