Energetic growth: Energy boosters add pep to the nutritional space’s step


11 Dec 2017 --- Busy schedules can cause consumers to go through an “energy crisis” – prompting their desire to reach for products that might offer some support to their energy levels. Energy boosters are certainly showing signs of growth in all regions tracked by Innova Market Insights. Europe is top of the pile worldwide with 28.8 percent of its supplement launches having an energy claim in 2016 and its CAGR amounting to a strong +86.7 percent.

“Energy boosters meet the need for both increased mental and physical vitality, a demand that cuts across gender, age group and geography,” explains Romain Thévenot, Category Manager at Naturex, of the reasons for the products’ necessity.

Tom Vella, President of green coffee company GoBean, describes today’s energy booster consumer thusly:

  • Consumers who reach for a rush of energy despite potential health risks.
  • Health-conscious consumers who want additional energy and focus without the harmful side effects of traditional energy drinks and shots.
  • The everyday consumer that might not be as educated about healthy choices, but would like energy without the spikes and crashes of traditional energy drinks and shots.

NutritionInsight reports on the latest views and developments in the products providing energy to the consumers of today and the future.

Energy near top of worldwide health concerns
DSM recently conducted two consumer surveys to assess people’s health concerns worldwide, says Maria Pavlidou, Head of Marketing Communications EMEA, DSM Nutritional Products, Human Nutrition & Health.

“One survey was taken in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and interviewed 7,000 people, while the other had an extended global reach, surveying 7,541 respondents from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, USA and Australia,” Pavlidou explains.

“In our consumer health concerns surveys, we found that energy is a prominent issue,” Pavlidou notes of the nutraceuticals market in particular.

Click to EnlargeMarket broadens appeal and turns against “crashing”
The audience for energy boosters is also widening, according to Thévenot. While traditionally the market has been oriented toward young males, he points out that today, consumers of all ages and both genders are taking an interest in these products.

“This shift of the category into the mainstream has meant a major change in energy products in order to address the needs of the broader market: more natural ingredients, particularly more botanicals and less artificial stimulants, with different messages about energy – i.e. no longer just a quick energy boost but also long-lasting energy, increased cognitive sharpness, increased antioxidant or immune protection,” says Thévenot. “It has basically redefined what an energy booster is.”
Thévenot notes that this creates opportunities for:

  • Natural sources of caffeine such as guarana and green tea. 
  • Natural sources of vitalizing/protective nutrients such as acerola for vitamin C.
  • Botanicals that provide long-lasting energy, such as Panax ginseng and maca.

Natural ingredients that deliver sustained energy without the typical crash could certainly be in serious demand soon, according to Scott Smith, Vice President of ingredients company Taiyo International. “There is a great opportunity for ingredients that enhance focus and concentration along with energy, and not simply high levels of caffeine with the associated negative effects, like spikes and crashes,” Smith adds.

“The market is already trending towards healthy, slower release energy-based products, as more people are becoming concerned about the effects of traditional energy drinks,” says Vella. “The majority of consumers who avoid energy shots and traditional energy drinks are doing so because they dislike the feeling of a spike and then a crash.”

Companies show energy for NPD and new delivery systems
Thanks to the broadening target population for energy boosters, the focus should be on delivery systems that are familiar to that general population and easy to incorporate into their lifestyles, according to Thévenot.

“These may include beverages or products that can be combined with a beverage (e.g. water enhancers),” Thévenot explains. “Beverages and shots that break the codes of traditional energy drinks and shots by using the codes of other categories like waters or juice drinks are particularly interesting as they are more appealing to the general consumer.”

“The most optimal energy boosters are delivered from the whole unroasted coffee bean, commercially sold as Whole Green Coffee Powder (WGCP),” says Vella. “This is optimal because unlike regular caffeinated products, WGCP delivers energy slowly, allowing the dopamine in the brain to replenish as WGCP energizes the brain and body.”

The energizing effect of WGCP takes place over several hours instead of 30 to 40 minutes, therefore avoiding the spike and crash often associated with other energy drinks, Vella asserts.

“WGCP is alive, so when it is consumed, the body experiences a completely different kind of energy boost than those that come from traditional energy products,” Vella says. “The whole unroasted coffee bean’s fiber slows the release of caffeine and contains the many acids and micronutrients that are otherwise lost during the roasting or extraction process of the coffee bean.”

Vella adds that WGCP is a food source, so it can be added to into food products as a natural energy booster and organic source of caffeine.

On DSM’s side, the company’s Fortitech Premixes nutrient premixes and custom formulations service enables the company to mix nutraceuticals, herbals, vitamins and more to create unique combinations for any type of request, Pavlidou says.

Click to Enlarge“Depending on the market and the final application, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and our competitive advantage lies in our ability to create unique solutions to address consumers’ energy needs,” Pavlidou explains. “For example, while one manufacturer may want to develop energy products with caffeine and B vitamins, another might prefer a solution with more natural ingredients, like guarana.”

The nutraceuticals space has stepped up too. “Recently, our company has developed a new product, Cistanche Extract, to meet energy needs,” says Dr. Eric Zhang, R&D Director of KEB Nutraceutical. The extract’s reported benefits include increased physical and sexual energy, along with anti-aging and memory boosts.

Future R&D platforms to serve changing consumers
“The next market innovations will (obviously) be 100 percent natural and will further explore the different ways of energizing the body without the use of stimulants,” predicts Thévenot.

Today’s trend of the increasingly informed consumer will also need to be taken into consideration by any future products. “Consumers keep learning, so the market will need to be increasingly savvy and science-based, and less and less dependent on hype,” Thévenot adds.

“We are seeing a shift away from water-soluble energy drinks toward cloudier drinks in which you can see the good nutrients,” Vella adds. “The market is also starting to move into more mainstream stores, like Walmart.”

Looking to the future, it is difficult not to see an upward trend for energy boosters. Innova statistics show that energy boosters are keeping up their growth momentum, with a global increase in CAGR every year from 2012 to 2016; the CAGR went up from +5.6 percent in 2012 to +16.4 percent in 2016. When you also consider the varied potential for sub-positionings within the category, the most penetrative of which in 2016 was immune health, it is clear that there is scope for further growth and innovation.

For more specific information on certain products, be sure to check out NutritionInsight’s key trends feature on energy boosters here

By Paul Creasy


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