Consumers want cognitive health benefits – and beverages are well-placed to deliver

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Cognitive health

Consumers are increasingly interested in cognitive health – and beverages offer a perfect avenue for delivering functionality in this area, according to Kerry.

Among the functional concepts the ingredients giant is showcasing is a chamomile honey night time protein beverage with ashwagandha. The drink draws on Sensoril Ashwagandha: a patented adaptogen for enhancing stress tolerance, energy and cognitive performance; and incorporated in Kerry’s portfolio through its acquisition of US-based Natreon this year.

New focus on cognitive health

Kerry had previously focused its efforts in immune health and digestive health: but has now expanded into catering for numerous functional attributes such as muscle health, heart health, infant and maternal health, and – perhaps most importantly for the beverage category – cognitive health.

The $50m acquisition of Natreon is one play in that area: with a ‘portfolio of clinically supported Ayurvedic and botanical extracts allowing Kerry to address a wider range of health need states including stress, sleep, cognition​ as well as heart and joint health for healthy aging… with new opportunities for innovation in functional food, beverage and supplement formulations’.

Within the cognitive health umbrella comes a host of need states, all of which Kerry is now looking to address: including sleep, stress, mood, brain health and memory.

And beverages are the perfect format for delivering on many of these, explains Niamh Hunt, global marketing manager for the ProActive health team. “Cognitive health is a massive need state at the moment, and beverages are a key avenue. There’s a natural association with relaxing occasions – sitting down with a cup of tea, for example.”

And that's exactly the occasion the chamomile honey night time protein beverage with ashwagandha has been envisioned for: positioned as a drink for hydrating and relaxing in the evening by responding to consumer demand for natural ingredients around relaxing and unwinding. The honey-flavored concept incorporates Sensoril Ashwagandha: a patented plant-based adaptogen supported by clinical studies to enhance stress tolerance, energy and cognitive performance; alongside magnesium.

The drink is also fortified with protein (Kerry’s Prodiem Refresh Pea is a stable plant-protein solution for clear beverages); Kerry Molasses Crystals (obtained from a proprietary vacuum drying process to maintain the taste, color and nutrition of the plant); and Kerry Tastesense.

Beverages: the natural delivery for functional benefits in an 'everyday way'

Protein remains another key attribute that consumers want: and again beverages have the opportunity to make the most of their everyday positioning. 

Particular areas of focus for Kerry have been developing protein solutions for hot drinks and clear drinks - again showcased with the chamomile honey beverage concept. And this kind of everyday-drink solution is what the vast majority of consumers want, notes Mindy Leveille, senior global marketing manager. "People want protein fortification in daily products: they don't want fancy shakes or powders." 

As a result, development of protein for beverage applications has reached a new level: able to cater for a vast range of beverage types. In particular, tea (both iced and hot), coffee, juices, water and smoothies are offering the most in-demand platforms for carrying protein in beverages.

Related topics Ingredients

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