Nootropic ingredients – those that offer cognitive or mood boosting benefits – are increasingly in the spotlight. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are turning to foods and beverages to boost their memory, focus, attention and energy levels alongside ingredients that are thought to manage their mood and wellbeing.
“Over the last few years industry has introduced a new buzzword to describe this space – nootropics – and a growing segment of business is paying attention to it,” Julian Mellentin, New Nutrition Business director and author of a new strategy briefing on the subject, observed.
Analysis from market researchers at Reports and Data valued the global nootropics market at US$1.96 billion in 2018. Sales, supported by trends accelerated by the coronavirus crisis, are expected to reach US$5.32 billion by the year 2026, at a CAGR of 13.2%.
Nootropics are substances taken to improve cognitive function or mental performance in healthy people. According to a survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), a third of American consumers are looking for memory, focus and cognition benefits from their food and drink.
However, while there is evidence to support growing consumer demand, Mellentin stressed that many nootropic brands don’t perform as well as hoped – and, indeed, many fail.
“Nootropics is a very high-risk area which is difficult for companies to navigate, and it’s important to see past the misleading hype that dominates this area.”