Nurturing Your Mood Through Functional Beverages

Consumers today are prioritizing emotional well-being to maintain a balanced and fulfilling life. The need for effective ways to support our emotional health has led to a growing interest in functional beverages to nourish our minds and bodies.  

 The $50 billion US functional beverage market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2022 to 2027, reaching $62 billion, according to Euromonitor. Functional drinks go beyond basic hydration, they are formulated with ingredients known for their potential health benefits, ranging from vitamins and minerals to adaptogens and botanical extracts. 

Consumer Need States Focus on Mood 

Post-COVID consumer habits encompass all things self-care, including emotional, mental and physical well-being. Self-Care is one of the macro trends Synergy identified in its consumer insights program, Next Wave. This trend has been adopted by nearly every generation and drivers include burnout, wellness, health, mindfulness, self-acceptance, smart nutrition and comfort food.  

The four claims that account for 73% of all functional beverage launches from 2018-2022 include energy and alertness, immune health, gut health and emotional and cognitive health. While immune and gut health owned 60% of total functional beverage launches in North America, the growth in these two focuses was minimal. However, emotional and cognitive health saw an increase of 12% in total launch count, representing 18% of total launches, signaling room for growth and a consumer desire for more options. (Innova Market Insights) 

Currently, older generations are buying mostly immunity and gut health products. But when asked which functional desires they want in a food and beverage, Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X said they want products that will improve their sleep and mental focus, according to Innova Market Insights. Boomers want to focus more on heart health and immunity.  

Based on consumer desire, the market for functional beverages tailored to emotional health will continue to expand. Popular choices include:  

  • Relaxation Drinks: These beverages often contain a blend of calming herbs and amino acids designed to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. 
  • Mood-Enhancing Teas: Herbal teas infused with ingredients like chamomile, lemon balm, and valerian root can be soothing and uplifting, making them ideal for moments of stress or tension. 
  • Adaptogenic Elixirs: Elixirs made with adaptogenic herbs are gaining popularity for their ability to support resilience to stress and promote a sense of balance and well-being. 
  • Nutrient-Enriched Waters: Enhanced waters fortified with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes can help replenish essential nutrients that support overall mood and cognitive function.

Functional Beverages and Mood 

Food and drink can influence our mood and overall mental health. Food can impact our emotional state and beverages can play a crucial role in regulating mood and stress levels. For example, excessive consumption of sugary drinks is reportedly linked to depression and anxiety, while hydration with water has been shown to support cognitive function and mood stability.  

Functional beverages take this connection even further by including ingredients specifically chosen for their mood-enhancing properties. Top emotional and cognitive health functional ingredients according to NIH, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Foods, MedlinePlus, CCIH and Mount Sinai via Innova Market Insights include:  

  • Alpha GPC: May increase brain levels with acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for memory and learning, and help compensate for neuron loss in Alzheimer’s. 
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogen for anxiety and stress relief, fatigue and cognitive performance. May help calm the brain.​ 
  • CBD: (Cannabidiol) A cannabinoid found in hemp that is promoted to treat conditions like pain, insomnia and anxiety. ​ 
  • Choline Bitartrate: Choline, a nootropic, supports brain health. It is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control and other brain and nervous system functions.​ 
  • Citicoline: A nootropic with a beneficial effect on concentration, working memory and attention. ​ 
  • Cobalamin (vitamin B12): Research shows it aids in regulating key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA and dopamine, which balance mood, reduces anxiety, enables mental clarity and allows us to use our full cognitive capacity.​ 
  • Ginseng: Helps resist environmental stress, improve wellbeing, concentration and memory and is promoted for a variety of other benefits. ​ 
  • Hemp Extract: A type of cannabis cultivar with <0.3% THC. “Full spectrum” or “broad spectrum” hemp extract includes a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes.​ 
  • L-theanine: Green tea amino acid improves mood and cognition and may help reduce stress and anxiety, improve memory and ameliorate cognitive deficits. ​ 
  • L-tyrosine: Non-essential amino acid essential for producing neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, that help control the nerve cells that communicate and influence mood. Some studies suggest it may help improve memory and performance under psychological stress.​ 
  • Rhodiola Rosea: Promoted to increase mental capacity, energy, stamina, strength and improve athletic performance, resist the effects of stress and help manage depression and anxiety. Insufficient research is available to support these claims.​ 
  • THC: (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) The psychoactive compound in marijuana that delivers the “high”. Two related cannabinoids are delta-8 THC, which is a less psychoactive variation, and THCV, which is not psychoactive.​ 

How Synergy Can Help 

Stress and uncertainty will continue to plague consumers, which makes nurturing our emotional and cognitive health paramount. Functional beverages off a refreshing approach to the self-care trend, providing an enjoyable way to support mood and wellbeing.  

From in-depth consumer insights to innovative flavor pairings, our beverage experts are here to help your product deliver on consumers’ expectations for functionality and great taste. Contact us to learn more.