“For companies seeking to innovate in this product category, understanding the nuances of how consumers perceive this category is essential as this market matures,” said Allie Chandler, head of brand and B2B marketing, North America, Novozymes OneHealth. “The Mental Wellness Insights Report outlines marketing opportunities, details consumer perspectives on mental wellness and delves into the gut-brain interaction.”
Novozymes OneHealth – the human health unit of Danish biotech company Novozymes – drew on insights collected through one-on-one interviews with 87 participants recruited among 18- to 75-year-olds in the U.S., China and Germany. It used the World Health Organization definition of mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
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Stress and sleep top of mind
Stress and sleep emerged as the most challenging facets across generations and geographies. While baby boomers reported more trouble sleeping, younger generations were more concerned with work-related stress undermining their quality of life.
When asked to describe mental wellness, one baby boomer from Germany responded: “It is when you can just sleep well at night, and switch off...when everything just fits, and your head is clearer.” For this age group, having partners, friends and family members affected by dementia was also a factor.
Both Gen X and Gen Y respondents pointed to excessive workload, burnout, mobbing, fear of failure and financial insecurity as stressors.
“I think first of all of working time and rest time,” a Gen Y-er from China said. “By the end of a year, I have business trips and important industry conferences to attend, and I must be able to balance work time and rest time. To a large extent, it affects the health of my brain and well-being.”
In China, this cohort identified interpersonal relationships and cultural emphasis on their children’s academic performance as additional stressors, while consumers in the U.S. mentioned cognitive decline of parents, pandemic effects on their children and overthinking as issues.
“Stress and sleep management in the U.S. market are the greatest opportunities I see for mental wellness, especially with so many people dealing with chronic illnesses, long-COVID and other health issues,” Chandler told NutraIngredients-USA.
All groups reported using multiple tactics to cope, with a high acceptance of dietary supplement use to help support mental wellness.
Gut-brain axis and market opportunity rising
According to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the global probiotic ingredients market for human nutrition is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% to reach over $2.9 billion by 2026. The report paired these analytics with Coherent Market Insights data projecting that the global brain health supplements market would grow at a CAGR of 9% by 2028.
“The mental wellness is by far the largest segment within the brain health supplements market with a 41% share,” Novozymes OneHealth highlighted, adding that consumer awareness of the gut-brain axis and how probiotics can benefit this bidirectional relationship is growing.
Last year, the company entered the market with a suite of probiotics, enzymes and bioactives focused on modulating the human microbiome. This includes its psychobiotic for mental wellness ProbioBrain, which is preparing for an official U.S. launch at the Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas next month.
“One thing that makes ProbioBrain unique is that its Bifidobacterium longum 1714 is backed by clinical trials on its unique effects on the gut-brain axis,” Chandler said. “It helps adults handle the psychological and physical responses to stress, significantly reduces cortisol output in response to stress, and helps maintain a calm state of mind and emotional balance during stressful times.”