Mushrooms, collagen, and MCT oil top Imbibe 2018 ingredient trend predictions

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are increasingly seeking functional beverages with ingredients linked to improving cognitive health and skin, according to Imbibe. ©GettyImages/Robert Daly
Consumers are increasingly seeking functional beverages with ingredients linked to improving cognitive health and skin, according to Imbibe. ©GettyImages/Robert Daly

Related tags Nutrition

Consumers are taking a holistic approach to their health, which is why beverage development company Imbibe predicts that the top beverage ingredients in 2018 will be ones with cognitive, immune health, and beauty claims.

Ingredients in these categories that support inner and outer wellbeing range from nootropics and MCT oil to mushrooms and collagen.

Brain boosting beverages

Consumers across multiple generations are seeking beverages that call out cognitive health benefits: but each age group has different needs, according to Imbibe.

“Millennials and Gen-Zers are looking for focus and alertness, and baby boomers are looking for anti-aging effects, enhanced memory, and to ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s,”​ Imbibe marketing associate, Holly McHugh, told BeverageDaily.

Brain boosting ingredients within the niche nootropics category - including L-Theanine, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and Ginko biloba - will begin to gain consumer awareness as they have been associated with supporting memory, focus, and clarity.

MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil, a type of fat found in coconut oil, will be another ingredient to watch out for in the cognitive beverage trend as it is already prevalent in the sports nutrition sector.

“Expect it to be called out in other types of beverages as well,”​ the company said.

One such brand, VitaMind​, was created by a neurosurgeon at the University of Illinois at Chicago and contains what the founders call “four pillars of healthy cognition”:​ Citicoline, Cereboost, MCT oil, and omega-3 fatty acids (from fish oil).

A tangential trend to cognitive is the steady rise of functional, mood-enhancing botanicals such as lavender, elderflower, Ashwagandha, and curcumin which some studies suggest help relieve stress and contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Beauty from within

Consumers seeking products with beauty-enhancing claims have moved beyond skincare and cosmetics, and into consumables with collagen as the “rising star”​ of the category, which is still in its nascent stages in the North American market.

Lac Taut, for example, is a dosed drink with a rapid delivery system of a proprietary collagen formula derived from the red snapper currently available in Asia and other markets (except the US and Canada).   

Juice company, RAW Pressery, sells a “Beauty Cleanse”​ beverage package containing ingredients such as turmeric, Ayurveda, and Aloe vera (only available in India).

“Beverages that enhance hair, skin, and nails are already mainstream in Europe and Asia, and with so many functional beverage products entering the market we expect this category to grow in the US as well,”​ McHugh said.

Mushrooms go mainstream

According to Imbibe, chaga, reishi, and cordyceps are the next “it”​ ingredients from the mushroom family, with an extra emphasis on chaga. 

“They’re adaptogens, rich in antioxidants, and are associated with stimulating the immune system. Chaga is also suggested to support GI health and improve cholesterol levels,”​ the beverage developer said.

MycoTechnology is working to unlock the consumer potential of this trend by recently securing $35m in funding with a large investment from Kellog to bring its vegan mushroom protein PureTaste to the market.

“Innovation with the ingredient is imminent,”​ Imbibe added. 

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