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Health and wellness series – Brain health and nutrition trends

November 2018

Executive summary

Consumers around the world increasingly recognize that health is not limited to the physical and that mental and emotional health are equally important parts of wellness. They are seeking health and wellness solutions of ever greater specificity – such as food and beverage products that claim to support a healthy brain and nervous system, boost memory and concentration, or promote relaxation and balance.

The global market for products with a "brain health and memory" claim was valued in 2017 at US$ 5.1 billions. With a 6.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2017, it is the second-fastest growing positioning within health and wellness packaged food. Brain health and memory products are often associated to other claims, such as health of the heart, the immune system or the gut.

Milk formula is currently the leading sector for products promoting brain and memory health, with US$4.8 billion worth on the global retail market in 2017. This segment has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% between 2013 and 2017.

From January 2008 to July 2018, a total of 12,996 products with the functional claim "brain health and nervous system" were launched around the world. The highest number of launches have occurred in India (1,732 products), Vietnam (1,431) and China (1,147).

Introduction

The brain is probably one of the most complex and fascinating areas of the human body. Brain chemistry plays an important part in several mood disorders, such as depression, and a growing number of scientific studies have demonstrated that the functions of the brain can be modified by our eating habits and the types of food we consume. From curcumin to treat depression to blueberries for improved concentration, the potential benefits of a nutritious diet on the brain are powerful.

The intersections of nutrition and mental health have been extensively discussed by the Dietitians of Canada (2012) in a comprehensive document that indicates that current treatments for mental health conditions (for example, pharmaceuticals) should be complemented by other approaches, such as targeted nutrition interventions that can maintain the structure and function of neurons and brain centres. Studies have also found a consistent relationship between "unhealthy" dietary patterns – a higher intake of saturated fat, sugar, refined starches and processed foods – and poorer mental health in youth (Beck, 2018)Footnote 1.

At the same time, with more and more information on the subject available on websites and social media, consumers around the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of providing the brain with the nutrients it needs, at all stages of life: from the womb (pre-natal nutrition) and early childhood to support brain development, during adult life when positive thinking, concentration and mental balance are key, and up until old age when degenerative illnesses become more prevalent.

This report does not attempt to cover the wide range of functional ingredients, variety of mental health conditions or nutritional approaches, but it provides an overview of the market and consumer trends with regards to functional/fortified products which specifically claim to support a healthy brain.

Overview of the sector

The health and wellness food sector remain as relevant as ever, despite broader economic concerns. Consumers are more than ever seeking healthier lifestyles, a well-balanced diet, and additional functionality and benefits from food and beverages. They demand health and wellness solutions of ever greater specificity. Over the years, people's concerns have focused on hearth health, with a shift towards digestion, and, more recently, cognitive function.

Nutrition and brain development

Maintaining good brain nutrition is essential at every life stage, and it is especially crucial for babies. Considering that 85% of brain development is complete by age three, it is not surprising that a large part of the market is targeting babies and toddlers. DHA is contained in many of these products. DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat found in the brain and eye, accounting for up to 97% of the total omega-3 fats in the brain.

Example of product

Organic Rice Baby Crackers
Source: Mintel, 2018

Launched in Thailand in April 2018 by Healthy Foods, these baby crackers are made with organic jasmine rice, contain omega 3 DHA and are free from eggs, nuts, MSG, preservatives, dairy and gluten.

The product is specifically promoted as containing DHA, which helps develop the brain for a baby, especially in the first three years. DHA promotes the growth of nervous functions, improves memory and refreshes the brain to reduce fatigue and stress.

Nutrition, self-care, and mental well-being

According to the World Health Organization (2011), mental health is not simply the absence of a mental health condition, it is "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community".

Overall, there is a push to recognize that health is more than just the physical, and that mental and emotional health are equally important parts of wellness. According to a survey conducted in the U.K. by Mintel (Feb. 2018), while the majority of consumers experienced stress in the last year, 34% of all consumers and 45% of the younger consumers aged 16-24 considered mental well-being more important than physical wellness.

United Kingdom: Stress experienced and attitudes towards managing stress and well-being, by age, February 2018
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Age 16-24 All
Experienced stress in the last 12 months 91% 86%
Mental well-being is more important than physical wellness 45% 34%

Source: Mintel, 2018

Stress management is key to achieve balance and mental health. While many people turn to comfort food during times of stress, many companies are targeting stressed-out younger consumers with self-care alternative food and drink solutions that provide anti-stress, relaxation, or even meditative functional benefits.

A diet based on nutrient-packed whole foods also increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that improves mood, attention and learning, promotes brain cell growth and lowers brain inflammation (Beck, 2018). The anti-inflammatory properties of nutrients may influence concentrations of brain chemicals that regulate emotions and cognition (Mintel, 2018).

For example, the Stress Killer multi-fruit juice with cinnamon and hemp extract launched in Germany in 2018 by the company Hermann Pfanner Getränke is said to provide strength to re-establish an equilibrium. This drink also features magnesium which is claimed to be called the "salt of ease of mind" and to support a normal brain and psychological function. Other examples include the Nine Super Seeds bar with carob and hemp seed, which is claimed to restore mindfulness, or the IQ Superfood Chocolate Organic BeautiQ, said to protect cells from oxidative stress, maintain psychological function, and reduce tiredness and fatigue (both products launched in the U.K. in 2017).

Stress Killer multi-fruit juice with cinnamon and hemp extract
Nine Super Seeds bar with carob and hemp seed
IQ Superfood Chocolate Organic BeautiQ

Source: Mintel, 2018

Nutrition and cognitive decline

Japanese gum Lotte
Source: Mintel, 2018

With age, consumers are increasingly interested in reducing the risk of developing neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Association recommends eating a brain-healthy diet that includes nuts, cold water fish, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which is linked to less cognitive decline in aging adults. Despite this recommendation, very few products seem to be currently targeting senior consumers: brain-healthy functional foods and beverages appear to be often marketed at mature adults on a hearth health positioning. An example of a brain health product for middle-aged and seniors is the Japanese gum Lotte, formulated with gingko biloba-derived flavonoid glycosides and terpenes lactones, to give consumers a memory boost.

Key functional ingredients

The products positioned primarily as beneficial for brain health may contain one or several of the following ingredients, among othersFootnote 2.

Example of product
Focusaid beverage
Source: Mintel, 2018

Launched in 2016 in the United States (U.S.) by Lifeaid Beverage, this doctor-developed product contains targeted supplements. It is made with raw organic blue agave and is free from gluten, artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors.

The product is formulated with American ginseng, which supports learning and memory; Rhodolia rosea, which supports concentration and is a nootropic; gaba, which helps with stress, clarity, concentration and focus; alpha GPC, which helps with memory, cognition and contains nootropic; acetyl-l-carnitine, neurotransmitters; vitamins C and D, which contain antioxidants and support the immune system; yerba mate and green tea, vasodilators and sources of natural caffeine; and full B complex and folic acid which support focus and endurance.

Retail sales by functional ingredient

Historical data is available on retail sales for some products containing certain functional ingredients. Even though these products may not all necessarily be positioned as beneficial for brain and memory health, the data can still provide an indication of the trends, such as the growing popularity of milk formula fortified with choline versus the decline of the retail sales of powder milk containing that same ingredient. However, no forecast data is available for functional ingredients.

Products fortified with choline – historical retail sales value in US$ millions – current prices – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Choline by FF milk formula 2,322.1 2,518.4 2,398.2 2,528.6 2,828.1 5.1
Choline by FF powder milk 21.3 21.1 20.2 18.0 17.1 −5.3
Total choline 2,343.4 2,539.5 2,418.4 2,546.6 2,845.3 5.0

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

FF: Functional/fortified

Overall, the share of functional foods with vitamin B6 is declining. Some categories of products fortified with B vitamins and calcium, such as flavoured milk drinks, have performed better, although market sizes are small.

Products with B vitamins and calcium, and vitamin B6 – historical retail sales value in US$ millions – current prices – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
B vitamins and calcium by FF cereals bars 12.6 13.3 13.5 12.7 12.2 −0.8
B vitamins and calcium by FF energy bars 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.4 2.5 5.7
B vitamins and calcium by FF flavoured milk drinks 17.2 19.1 22.3 23.9 25.0 9.8
B vitamins and calcium by NH cereal bars 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.9 −2.6
Total B vitamins and calcium 32.9 35.4 39.0 39.9 40.6 5.4
Vitamin B6 by FF dairy-based yoghurt 315.9 309.0 267.7 260.3 264.2 −4.4%
Vitamin B6 by FF gum 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.9 0.9 −6.9%
Total vitamin B6 317.0 310.0 268.6 261.2 265.1 −4.4%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

FF: Functional/fortified

NH: Naturally healthy

When it comes to omega, milk formula fortified with omega is the largest market, with US$26.5 billion in retail sales. Flavoured milk drinks containing omega are an emerging market, with an historical compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.5%, whereas the market for naturally-healthy cereal bars fortified with omega is shrinking rapidly.

Products containing omega – historical retail sales value in US$ millions– current prices – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Omega by FF flavoured milk drinks 8.5 7.7 39.8 47.7 52.3 57.5
Omega by FF milk formula 21,374.6 22,573.1 23,702.9 24,675.2 26,552.2 5.6
Omega by FF powder milk 193.7 201.1 179.0 155.1 158.7 −4.9
Omega by FF margarine and spreads 1,124.5 1,130.8 1,092.6 1,077.3 1,066.3 −1.3
Omega by FF dairy-based yoghurt 15.8 13.4 11.4 10.4 9.7 −11.5
Omega by NH cereal bars 14.7 15.3 15.9 0.6 0.9 −50.3
Omega by organic cereal bars 19.2 21.4 21.6 23.9 25.0 6.8
Total omega 22,381.3 23,414.6 24,395.2 25,251.4 27,007.5 4.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

FF: Functional/fortified

NH: Naturally healthy

Within omega, the largest market is by far omega 3, with also the fastest growth at 6.6% CAGR for 2013-2017.

Products containing omega, by omega type – Retail sales value, US$ Millions, 2017
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  • Arachidonic acid (AA): US$342.2 million
  • Omega 6: US$23.6 million
  • Omega 3, 6: US$8,206.6 million
  • Omega-3: US$19,603.5 million

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

More specifically, the percentage breakdown of the total sales of products fortified with Omega 3 in 2017 (19.6 billions) shows that 90% of the products contained omega-3 DHA. DHA was also the fastest growing type of Omega 3 at 8,5% CAGR from 2013 to 2017.

Products containing omega 3, by sub-type – % breakdown, based on retail sales value, 2017
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  • Omega-3 (10.02%)
  • Omega-3 ALA (1.07%)
  • Omega-3 DHA (89.64%)
  • Omega-3 EPA (0.04%)

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

Retail sales by product positioning

"Brain health and memory products" refer to fortified/functional (FF) food and beverages that are primarily positioned as being beneficial to brain health and development and memory improvement; these are typically led by products fortified with omega-3.

In 2017, the global health and wellness sector was valued at US$ 717.8 billion globally, and brain health and memory positioning represented a small 1.0% share of that sector (US$5.1 billion). However, the brain health and memory category was the second fastest-growing niche segment in health and wellness foods at 6.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2017 (only behind energy-boosting products) with similar growth rates expected for 2018-2022.

Packaged food represents 99.4% of the brain health and memory products offered on the market, while beverages account for 0.6%. Within the packaged food category, milk formula (excluding special, i.e. hypoallergenic or lactose-free products given to babies who are allergic to standard milk formula) and milk accounted for over 96% of retail sales. In beverages, instant coffee leaded the category. Since 2015, data is also available on the emerging market of FF bottled water products.

The global brain health and memory (BHM) sector, by category historical and forecast retail sales value in US$ millions – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
BHM Beverages 23.8 33.2 8.7 35.8 50.7 9.1
BHM FF instant coffee 23.8 32.0 7.7 34.0 43.9 6.6
BHM FF bottled water N.A. 1.2 N.C. 1.8 6.8 39.4
BHM Packaged food 3,999.2 5,089.6 6.2 5,386.9 6,902.1 6.4
BHM Milk formula (excluding special) 3,715.7 4,839.5 6.8 5,130.8 6,635.9 6.6
BHM FF bread 18.0 16.6 −2.0 16.3 14.9 −2.2
BHM Dairy 265.5 233.4 −3.2 239.8 251.2 1.2
BHM Milk 230.4 199.2 −3.6 204.8 212.3 0.9
BHM FF reduced fat milk 59.5 58.4 −0.5 67.0 76.5 3.4
BHM FF standard milk 170.9 140.8 −4.7 137.8 135.9 −0.3
BHM FF powder milk 16.8 19.3 3.5 19.9 23.4 4.1
BHM FF margarine and spreads 10.4 14.9 9.4 15.1 15.4 0.5
Brain health and memory – Total 4,023.1 5,122.8 6.2 5,422.7 6,952.8 6.4

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

FF: Functional/fortified

N.A.: Not available

N.C.: Not calculable

By region and country

The largest market for brain health and memory products is Asia-Pacific, which also registered a strong historical CAGR of 7.3%, only behind Middle East and Africa (8.1%), which is a much smaller market. Medium-sized markets are Western Europe, North America and Latin America with moderate growth rates.

The global brain health and memory market, by region
historical and forecast retail sales value in US$ millions – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Region 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Asia-Pacific 2,848.6 3,769.9 7.3 3,915.6 5,154.0 7.1
Western Europe 423.4 485.6 3.5 582.7 664.4 3.3
North America 306.5 343.6 2.9 327.9 426.3 6.8
Latin America 268.8 306.1 3.3 361.8 402.1 2.7
Middle East and Africa 67.4 92.0 8.1 101.5 149.2 10.1
Eastern Europe 78.0 90.3 3.7 93.7 103.2 2.4
Australasia 16.7 20.1 4.7 39.6 53.7 7.9
World 4,023.1 5,122.8 6.2 5,422.7 6,952.8 6.4

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

While fortified/functional (FF) products are losing traction in Western countries due to its perception as a more artificial and processed offering, it shows great opportunities for growth in emerging markets, particularly as a means of minimizing nutritional gaps. (Euromonitor International, 2018)

The top five countries with the highest retail sales value in 2017 for brain health and memory products were all located in the Asia-Pacific region. The country leading in terms of retail sales value, Indonesia, had a market that was more than double the size of that of the second country in the ranking, Hong Kong.

In Europe the leading countries were the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland. In North America, the U.S., Canada and Mexico all made it into the top 15.

Top 15 countries – Brain health and memory products
historical and forecast retail sales value in US$ millions – fixed 2017 exchange rates
Country 2013 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017 Share[1] % in 2017 2018 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Indonesia 831.1 1,277.9 11.4 12.5 1,389.2 1,928.4 8.5
Hong Kong, China 393.3 522.8 7.4 5.1 564.1 752.1 7.5
Malaysia 367.0 509.9 8.6 5.0 566.1 895.4 12.1
Japan 358.6 409.9 3.4 4.0 414.5 442.1 1.6
Vietnam 332.9 388.8 4.0 3.8 404.8 480.4 4.4
United Kingdom 209.6 255.4 5.1 2.5 347.9 415.2 4.5
United States 212.4 252.0 4.4 2.5 261.6 292.4 2.8
Taiwan 186.5 222.2 4.5 2.2 229.7 259.9 3.1
South Korea 183.4 154.0 −4.3 1.5 151.1 151.0 0.0
Mexico 147.6 130.9 −3.0 1.3 137.1 165.4 4.8
India 43.5 101.3 23.5 1.0 22.7 29.5 6.8
Canada 94.1 91.6 −0.7 0.9 100.2 109.7 2.3
Thailand 69.2 88.7 6.4 0.9 94.0 119.8 6.3
Germany 70.8 80.6 3.3 0.8 81.8 80.9 −0.3
Poland 58.5 64.5 2.5 0.6 65.2 67.4 0.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

1: Share of the total global market of Brain health and memory products

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top companies and distribution

In Indonesia, three companies controlled together over 90% of the sector of Brain Health and memory: Nestlé SA (33.6%), Morinaga Milk Industry Co. Ltd. (29.9%) and Royal FrieslandCampina NV (28.4%). In the U.K., a large share of the market (87%) was concentrated in the hands of the Danone Groupe, while in the U.S. the Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB) dominated (60%), with the private label accounting for 37% of the market.

The top players in Canada and their top brand are presented in the next table.

The Canadian brain health and memory sector, by brand
% breakdown, based on retail sales value
Brand Company 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Lactantia Lactalis, Groupe 25.2 25.2 25.3 24.8 24.5
Natrel Agropur Co-operative Agro-Alimentaire 21.0 19.3 19.5 19.6 19.5
Wonder Bread George Weston Ltd 18.8 19.1 18.5 18.1 18.0
Neilson Saputo Inc 16.5 16.5 16.6 16.6 16.7
Enfagrow Mead Johnson Nutrition Co – with Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc in 2017 6.9 6.9 7.0 7.3 7.5
Others Others 11.6 13.0 13.1 13.6 13.8
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

In 2017, the clear majority of the fortified/functional (FF) products (including brain health and memory products) were sold through brick and mortar stores. The non-store retailing segment is growing, however, and this channel already accounts for 15.2% of retail sales value in countries like Japan.

In general, patterns of distribution vary widely from one country to another, as shown in the table below. Canadians and Americans buy over 85.1% of FF products through modern retail outlets especially supermarkets and hypermarkets. In emerging economies such as Mexico and Indonesia, the traditional channels are keeping a larger share of the market, with 31.7% and 20.1% respectively, which for the most part belongs to small independent grocers. Small independent grocers also had a good performance in Canada (11.5%), by contrast to other major economies, including the U.S. (2.9%), the U.K. (1.4%) and Japan (0.9%).

Distribution channels of functional/fortified products in selected markets
% breakdown, based on retail sales value in 2017
Country Indonesia Japan United Kingdom United States Canada Mexico
Store-based 99.7 84.8 97.0 97.9 99.9 99.1
Grocery retailers 95.9 73.4 89.7 89.2 98.8 95.7
Modern 75.8 66.1 78.2 85.1 87.3 64.0
Convenience stores 8.3 20.7 7.1 4.7 2.3 5.2
Discounters 0.0 0.0 2.4 6.6 12.1 14.0
Forecourt retailers 0.0 0.0 1.3 4.4 1.5 0.6
Hypermarkets 32.5 0.0 33.7 22.8 18.6 16.0
Supermarkets 35.0 45.4 33.6 46.7 52.8 28.2
Traditional 20.1 7.3 11.5 4.1 11.5 31.7
Food/drink/tobacco specialists 0.0 0.6 0.0 0.4 0.0 1.9
Independent small grocers 15.4 0.9 1.4 2.9 11.4 29.8
Other grocery retailers 4.7 5.8 10.2 0.8 0.1 0.0
Non-grocery Specialists 3.8 8.1 6.5 8.7 0.4 3.4
Non-store 0.3 15.2 3.0 2.1 0.1 0.9
Vending 0.0 4.6 0.5 1.1 0.0 0.3
Homeshopping 0.0 2.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Internet retailing 0.0 4.7 2.5 1.0 0.1 0.6
Direct selling 0.3 3.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

The brain health and memory milk formula sector

According to data retrieved in Euromonitor International (2018), milk formula is currently the leading segment for products promoting brain and memory health. Milk formula includes ready-to-drink liquids or liquid concentrates which require further dilution prior to consumption, as well as powder concentrate of milk formula, which must be rehydrated prior to consumption.

The global brain health and memory (BHM) milk formula market has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% from 2013 to 2017. It was valued at US$4.8 billion in 2017, which is higher than the liquid standard, Hypo-Allergenic (HA), organic and special baby milk formula markets. Brain health and memory milk formula represented 10.7% of the total functional/fortified (FF) milk formula market, with a value superior to several other FF milk formula segments (for example, bone health or immune system).

The global brain health and memory milk formula sector, in context – 2017
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  • Health and wellness packaged food: US$427.2 billion
    • Health and wellness baby food: US$52.9 billion
      • Hypo-allergenic milk formula: US$2.8 billion
        • Hypo-allergenic liquid milk formula: US$77.6 million
      • Health and wellness milk formula: US$50.1 billion
        • Organic milk formula: US$1.3 billion
        • Functional/Fortified milk formula: US$44.70 billion
          • Brain health and memory milk formula: US$4.8 billion
        • Special baby milk formula: US$4.1 billion
          • Liquid special baby milk formula: US$175.8 million

Liquid standard milk formula: US$4.6 billion (included for comparison, not found under the HW packaged food category)

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

Example of product

Baby's Only toddler formula
Source: Mintel, 2018

Relaunched in May 2018 with a new packaging by the company Nature's One, this milk formula contains DHA and ARA naturally derived from egg yolk phospholipids. It also contains naturally occurring choline, in a highly absorbable form.

This United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic product is hexane-free. It is designed for lactose sensitivity, kosher certified, and is suitable for toddlers from one year onwards. The product features on pack the Pure 10 Pledge which states that the product is free from algae, fungal, oils, bleach, and acid, and supports brain, eye and nervous system development.

Product launch analysis

According to Mintel's Global New Products Database (2018), from January 2008 to July 2018, a total of 12,996 products with the claim "brain health and nervous system" were launched in the world in the food (9,159) and drink (3,838) categoriesFootnote 4. Out of these, 60% of products were new products or varieties introduced in the market while the remaining products had been relaunched (in some cases with a new packaging or new formulation). These products all claim to provide benefits associated with optimal memory function, brain and nervous health and maintaining a positive mental state i.e. general psychological well-being, in addition to containing key ingredients/additives.

Number of "brain health and nervous system" products, by launch type – January 2008-July 2018
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  • New product: 5,052
  • New packaging: 3,317
  • New variety/range extension: 2,794
  • Relaunch: 1,227
  • New formulation: 606

Source: Mintel, 2018

"Brain and nervous system" products launched, per year – January 2008-July 2018
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2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of products launched 254 508 722 910 971 1,557 1,629 1,624 1,739 1,857 1,225

Source: Mintel, 2018

The highest number of launches have occurred in India, Vietnam and China. Despite being the world's largest market for brain health products in terms of retail sales (as seen in the previous section), Indonesia only accounted for 1.2% of all the products launched during the 10-year period, with only 56 products.

Top countries for "brain and nervous system" product launches, January 2008-July 2018
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Country Product launches
India 1,732
Vietnam 1,431
China 1,147
United States 1,036
Thailand 745
United Kingdom 545
Mexico 394
Germany 391
Russia 302
Poland 273
Canada (13) 237

Source: Mintel, 2018

2016-2018 product launch analysis

An analysis of the last two years and a half gives us a good idea of the most recent trends. From January 2016 to July 2018, there were 4,821 products launched with a brain health and nervous system claim. Two-thirds (3,242) were food products and one-third (1,579) were drinks.

The most popular food category was baby food, accounting for almost a third of the product launches (1,321), followed by dairy (446) and breakfast cereals (330). Within baby food, growing up milk (1-4 years) was the top subcategory (446). Hot beverages (505) was leading in drinks, with teas (323) as the top subcategory.

Top 10 categories for "brain and nervous system" product launches, January 2016-July 2018
% of product launches
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Product category % of product launches
All product categories 100%
Baby food 27.4%
Hot beverages 10.5%
Other beverages 9.4%
Dairy 9.3%
Breakfast cereals 6.8%
Snacks 6.6%
Sports and energy drinks 5.8%
Processed fish, meat and egg products 3.4%
Juice drinks 3.1%
Side dishes 3.0%

Source: Mintel, 2018

In addition to the claim of benefits for the health of the brain and nervous system, over half (2,638) of the products launched during the 2016-2018 review period were associated to "other" functional claims, while 35% of products (1,696) were fortified with vitamins and minerals, and 30% of the products were said to promote bone health (1,470) and the immune system (1,449). The number of products targeting babies and toddlers aged between 0 and 4 years old was also close to 30% (1,381).

Top 10 claims for "brain and nervous system" product launches, January 2016-July 2018
% of product launches
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Claim % of product launches
Functional - Brain and nervous system 100.0%
Functional - Other 54.7%
Vitamin/mineral fortified 35.2%
Functional - Bone health 30.5%
Functional - Immune system 30.0%
Babies and toddlers (0-4) 28.6%
No additives/preservatives 22.1%
Social media 22.0%
Functional - digestive 21.1%
Ethical - Environmentally friendly package 19.5%
Functional - cardiovascular 19.3%

Source: Mintel, 2018

Top attributes of food and drink products promoting a healthy brain and nervous system
Number of launches worldwide from January 2016 to July 2018
Food Food launches Drink Drink launches
Top format Powder 815 Bags 225
Liquid 399 Loose 83
Spread 6 Coffee Mixes 37
Dragee 4 Soluble/Instant 20
Stick 3 Ground 19
Top packaging Flexible 1,261 Bottle 346
Can 445 Flexible 244
Carton 404 Can 239
Flexible stand-up pouch 276 Jar 228
Tub 171 Flexible sachet 208
Storage Shelf stable 2,967 Shelf stable 1,493
Chilled 217 Chilled 85
Frozen 59 Frozen 1
Other feature Tamper-evident 506 Tamper-evident 446
Snap-off opening tab 33 Slimline can 61
Vacuum sealed 22 Tear-strip opening 5
Tear-strip opening 18 Piggy-back label 4
Eating utensil included 16 Window (cut-out) 2
Top flavors Unflavoured/Plain 1,657 Unflavoured/Plain 288
Chocolate 189 Chocolate 126
Vanilla/ Bourbon/ Madagascar 129 Malt 98
Banana 96 Orange 78
Strawberry 90 Lemon 73
Fruit 75 Herbs/Herbal 57
Vegetable 69 Cocoa/Cacao 54
Apple 67 Fruit 53
Cocoa/Cacao 55 Ginger 52
Honey 54 Apple 50
Salt/Salted 53 Strawberry 41
Roasted/Toasted 44 Mango 36
Almond 42 Lime 36
Chicken 42 Vanilla/ Bourbon / Madagascar 34
Top ingredient preparation Powdered 1,165 Extract 501
Skimmed 799 Powdered 319
Concentrate 455 Concentrate 151
Mixed 446 Root 119
Extract 388 Solid 103
Whole 327 Anhydrous 98
Fish Oil Derived 259 Carbonated 89
Solid 225 Made From Concentrate 73
Dry 197 Blended 71
Flakes 187 Skimmed 64
Refined 182 Malted 51
Demineralised 136 Dry 50
Full 110 Mixed 48
Edible 105 Puree 42
In Oil 101 Edible 32
Top ingredient origin Himalayan 12 Siberian 12
Alaska 9 Indian 9
Italian 8 American 6
Brazilian 8 Ceylon 6
Chinese 7 Colombia 6
United Kingdom 7 Assam 6
Source: Mintel, 2018

A considerable number of products contained vitamin B or calcium as a source of micronutrients, as well as vitamin C and E (key antioxidants).

Top vitamin B and calcium types in brain health products launched worldwide between January 2016 and July 2018
Vitamin B and calcium Number of products
Folic Acid (Food) 1,315
Riboflavin (Food) 1,170
Vitamin B6 1,009
Niacin (Food) 969
Vitamin B1 967
Vitamin B12 954
Biotin (Food) 914
Calcium Carbonate (Food) 832
Niacinamide (Food) 665
Calcium Pantothenate (Food) 661
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride 618
Pantothenic Acid (Food) 579
Cyanocobalamin (Food) 394
Thiamine Hydrochloride 373
Calcium Phosphates 285
Tricalcium Phosphate (Food) 230
Calcium 183
Thiamine Mononitrate 183
Calcium Hydrogen Phosphate 146
Calcium Citrates 127
Calcium Chloride (Food) 100
Source: Mintel, 2018
Top antioxidants contained in brain health products launched worldwide between January 2016 and July 2018
Antioxidants Number of products
Vitamin C 1,307
Vitamin E 663
Ascorbyl Palmitate (Food) 350
Sodium Ascorbate (Food) 331
Tocopherol Concentrate Mixed 200
Tocopherol (Food) 182
Source: Mintel, 2018

Zinc and magnesium are also common additives and support a healthy function of the brain and nervous system.

Top zinc and magnesium types contained in brain health products launched worldwide between January 2016 and July 2018
Zinc and magnesium Number of products
Zinc Sulfate (Food) 863
Magnesium Chloride (Food) 255
Zinc (Food) 189
Zinc Oxide 141
Magnesium Carbonate (Food) 100
Magnesium 95
Magnesium Phosphates 91
Source: Mintel, 2018

Products containing polyunsaturated fatty acids accounted for up to 20% of the total number of products launched with a brain health and nervous system claim during the review period.

Top polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in brain health products launched worldwide between January 2016 and July 2018
Polyunsaturated fatty acid Number of launches
Docosahexaenoic acid (food) 380
Arachidonic acid (food) 289
Docosahexaenoic acid (animal origin) 90
Docosahexaenoic acid (non-animal origin) 79
Omega 3 fatty acids 43
Omega 6 fatty acids 25
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids 16
Eicosapentaenoic acid 8
Alpha-linolenic acid 3
Source: Mintel, 2018

Products containing choline dietary supplements represented at most 15% of the total number of products launched with a brain health and nervous system claim during the review period.

Choline ingredients contained in brain health products
Number of launches in the world from January 2016 to July 2018
Choline Number of launches
Choline Chloride 264
Choline Bitartrate 248
Choline 104
Citicoline 12
Alpha Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 3
Source: Mintel, 2018

Products containing seaweed represented up to 10% of the total number of products launched with a brain health and nervous system claim during the review period. Carrageenan was the top ingredient, with 241 product launches containing it. Several other ingredients, such as kombu seaweed or algae flour, were each contained in only one product launched during the review period.

Top seaweed ingredients contained in brain health products
Number of launches in the world from January 2016 to July 2018
Seaweed Number of launches
Carrageenan (Food) 241
Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil 93
Docosahexaenoic Acid (Non-Animal Origin) 79
Algal Oil 22
Algae 14
Spirulina 13
Schizochytrium 4
Chlorella 3
Laver 2
Seaweed Seasoning 2
Source: Mintel, 2018

Other functional ingredients contained in a number of those products included:

New product examples

Fortified baby savoury meal – Vietnam
Product Minced Pork & Spinach Flavoured Bird's Nest Nutrition Porridge
Company Yen Viet Joint Stock Company
Brand Yen Viet Nest IQ Kids
Category Baby food
Country Vietnam
Date published July 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in US dollars 2.52

Yen Viet Nest IQ Kids porridge is specially formulated for babies from nine months onwards. It is enriched with 100% bird's nest and micro-nutrients which are essential for baby's physical and mental development. Bird's nest is said to be high in protein, 20 essential amino acids and valuable micronutrients that help enhance baby's resistance, reduce the risk of catching normal flu and digestive diseases. The product is also enriched with fibres and enzyme amylase which stimulate digestion; and folic acid, iodine, iron and DHA as essential nutrients that aid in the development of brain and eye health as well as enhancing memory and learning ability. It is also fortified with vitamins A, C and E and minerals to support height and weight development, reduce the risk of getting malnutrition, anaemia, zinc deficiency whilst aiding in general development.

Ingredients (standard form):

  • rice germ: Glutinous Rice (Sticky), Aromatic Rice (Fragrant)
  • meat and vegetable sachet: Pork Rib (Powdered), Pork Powder (Freeze Dried, Powdered), Spinach Powder (Freeze Dried, Powdered), Soybean Proteins, White Sugar (Sugar Based), Bird's Nest (Freeze Dried), L-lysine
  • DHA: Soybean Oil (Refined), Chicken Fat, Docosahexaenoic Acid
  • micro-nutrient sachet: Krill Oil, fibre, Micronutrients (Mixed) (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Cholecalciferol, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid (Food Acids), L-lysine, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iodine)
Fortified drink mix – Mexico
Product Chocolate Flavored Fortified Drink Mix
Company Mead Johnson
Brand Cal-C-Tose
Category Other beverages
Sub-category Beverage mixes
Country Mexico
Date published June 2018
Launch type New Packaging
Price in US dollars 6.07

Cal-C-Tose Chocolate Flavored Fortified Drink Mix features: protein to promote muscle formation; carbohydrates to provide a source of energy for the brain; fats, which are a source of energy; choline to support brain signals; iron to support mental development and neurotransmitter formation; zinc to contribute to mental development and the absorption of vitamin A; niacin to contribute to the nervous system function; copper and vitamin 6 to aid neurotransmitter formation; vitamin B1 to contribute to the maintenance and function of mental development; vitamin B12 to help mental development function; folic acid to help the nervous system function; iodine to help mental development; calcium and phosphorus to aid the development and strengthening of bones and teeth; potassium, which is involved in muscle movement; sodium to aid the nervous system function; magnesium, that together with phosphorus, help bone formation; vitamin C to contribute to the immune system and absorption of iron; chlorine to help digestive function; vitamin E to aid the immune system; vitamin B2, an antioxidant; vitamin A to aid healthy eyesight; manganese to help bone formation; chromium to regulate sugar levels in the blood; and vitamin D to help calcium absorption in bones. This drink mix is recommended by pediatricians and retails in a newly designed 1.9 kilogram (kg) recyclable jumbo pack featuring Facebook details, and yielding 146 glasses.

Ingredients (standard form): White Sugar (Sugar Based), Cocoa Powder, Maltodextrin, Calcium Phosphates, Lecithin (Emulsifiers), Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin C, Chocolate Flavour, Ferrous Fumarate, Zinc Sulfate, Choline Bitartrate, Vitamin E, Salt, Taurine, Niacinamide, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin A, Cholecalciferol, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin, Folic Acid (Food Acids), Potassium Iodide, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Antioxidants)

Fortified water – The Netherlands
Product Raspberry Flavoured Low Calorie Drink
Company Vitamin Well
Brand Vitamin Well Awake
Category Water
Sub-category Flavoured water
Country Netherlands
Date published June 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in US dollars 1.64

Vitamin Well Awake Raspberry Flavoured Low Calorie Drink is a vitamin and mineral enriched raspberry flavoured water, with high caffeine content, which contributes to increased alertness and improved concentration. The water also contains vitamins D, B12 and folic acid, which contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system. It retails in a 500 millilitre (ml) pack.

Ingredients (on pack): spring water, fruit sugar, acidity regulator (citric acid), blackberry extract, caffeine, vitamins (vitamin D3, vitamins E, niacin, folic acid, vitamins B12, biotin, pantothenic acid), minerals (magnesium, zinc, selenium), preservatives (sodium sorbate), raspberry flavor, colouring (sweet potato concentrate, apple concentrate, radish concentrate, cherry concentrate)

Product supporting pre-natal nutrition – Indonesia
Product Strawberry Vanilla Flavoured Milk Powder for Pregnant Women
Company Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur
Brand SUN Ibu
Category Dairy
Sub-category Flavoured milk
Country Indonesia
Date published July 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in US dollars 1.25

SUN Ibu Strawberry Vanilla Flavoured Milk Powder for Pregnant Women is designed to fulfil the nutrition that pregnant women needs. The product contains the following: omega-3 and omega-6 to help maintain the growth and development of the foetus; vitamin B6 to support metabolism and tissue formation; iron, which is part of haemoglobin to transport oxygen around the body; and calcium, which is essential for the development of bone and in maintaining bone and teeth density. The product is halal certified and retails in a 150 gram (g) pack.

Ingredients (Standard form): Skimmed Milk Powder (Powdered, Skimmed), White Sugar, Full Cream Milk Powder (Full, Powdered), Inulin, Buttermilk Powder (Powdered), Maltodextrin, Strawberry Powder (Powdered), Minerals, Natural Vanilla Flavour (Natural), Vitamins (Pre-Mix), Docosahexaenoic Acid (Tocopherol (Antioxidants), Ascorbyl Palmitate), Natural Strawberry Flavour (Natural)

All-natural beverage with no additives/preservatives – India
Product Turmeric Almond Milk
Company Rakyan Beverages
Brand Raw Pressery
Category Dairy
Sub-category Plant based drinks (dairy alternatives)
Country India
Country of manufacture India
Date published May 2018
Launch type New variety/Range extension
Price in US dollars 1.51

Raw Pressery Turmeric Almond Milk is said to contain plant protein and is planet friendly. This 100% natural nut milk is claimed to be lower in calories than regular milk, is high in calcium, is packed with good fats and vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E, and is known for strong bones and healthy skin, and also boostsskin brain power. It has been processed with cold pressured technology which is said to eliminate harmful bacteria and preserves vitamins, and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. This product is claimed to be all plant, all taste, all green and all good, and is free from artificial flavours, lactose, dairy, added sugar, preservatives, saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also said to be easy on the digestive system, helps lower bad cholesterol and retails in a 250ml BPA free bottle.

Ingredients (Standard form): Waters, Almond, Agave, Curcumin

All-natural cold cereal – South Africa
Product Chocolate Cacao Raw Sprouted Instant Buckwheat Wholefood Porridge
Company Herbivore Earthfoods
Brand Herbivore Power Porridge
Category Breakfast cereals
Country South Africa
Date published January 2018
Launch type New poduct
Price in US dollars 7.79

Herbivore Power Porridge Chocolate Cacao Raw Sprouted Instant Buckwheat Wholefood Porridge is supercharged with enzymes, and is made according to a raw vegan recipe by sprouting buckwheat seeds to wake them up and increase their nutrient bioavailability making it easier for consumer bodies to absorb their nutrients. This organic, halal and kosher certified product is free from gluten, added sugar and preservatives and is made with buckwheat, chia seeds, flax seeds and dates. According to the manufacturer, buckwheat is one of the most complete sources of protein on earth containing all eight essential amino acids; sprouted buckwheat is high in bioflavonoids, flavonols and co-enzyme Q10 and contains all of the B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, selenium and iron; chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein and antioxidants and contain 20% omega 3 ALA making them a super food for brain and heart.

Ingredients (Standard form): Buckwheat, Sunflower Seed, Date, Cocoa Bean (Raw), Linseed, Chia Seed*organic ingredients

Conclusion

It is increasingly recognized that a well-balanced diet can help maintaining a healthy brain, throughout all stages of life. Products specifically formulated to promote brain development in fetus, babies and infants are especially sought after by consumers, particularly milk formula. In some emerging markets, where micronutrient fortification is key to address malnutrition, further growth over the forecast period is expected.

On the other hand, functional self-care food and drink products are also increasingly appealing to consumers, especially in Western countries. For example, issues with mood, focus, sleep or anxiety can occur when neurotransmitters are out of balance. An increasing number of the so-called "mood foods" have been launched in recent years to help relieving stress or enhancing memory and concentration levels, often under suggestive names such as "My anxiety tea" or "Focus". Another emerging trend is mindfulness applied to food and eating as a therapy to treat certain conditions. Exercises involve mindful eating of foods typically included in binges (for example, cookies), and focusing on eating behaviours and emotions, and on the textures and tastes of foods.

More research is needed to understand better the links between mental health and nutrition and how product developers can respond to new consumer trends with innovative products and ingredients. As populations age, more and more health-conscious consumers may be demanding in the future nutritious foods that prevent cognitive decline.

For more information

This customized report has been prepared for BENEFIQ 2018 Session 5: Health target: Nutrition and mental health – Quebec City, October 2 to 4, 2018.

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

Resources

Health and wellness series – Brain health and nutrition trends
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Josique Lorenzo, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2018).

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