It’s no secret that supplement sales grew during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers looked for ways to boost their body’s natural immunity and overall health, but now that the pandemic is shifting into its final phases, more and more attention is being placed on “COVID adjacent” categories, which largely address consumers’ general sense of burnout caused by years of virtual schooling, blurred lines between home and work life, and the steady stress of dealing with what seems like one crisis after another.
Indeed, what today’s consumers seek is “mental energy,” or the combination of an energy boost and increased mental clarity. This preference is reflected in sales data showing an expected CAGR of 8% for cognitive health supplements between 2021 and 2028 (1); at the same time, roughly 56% of consumers are concerned about low energy and 31% of supplement users already take supplements for an energy boost.
That said, caffeine isn’t always the answer. Consumers are catching on to unwanted side effects like headache, insomnia, nervousness, jitteriness and irritability (2), and, as a result, over 83% of caffeine consumers say they would try a non-caffeine energy product if it offered the same energy benefits (3). The bottom line? The supplement, food and beverage industries have an opportunity to appeal to athletes, gamers, professionals, parents, and anyone seeking more energy and less brain fog, with a caffeine alternative that offers sustained mental energy, alertness and focus benefits. A few supplement brands have met demand with products operating at the intersection of energy and cognitive health but, for the most part, consumers have been left to create their own “mental energy” supplement cocktails. The combination is even more rare in food and beverages, even as consumers seek alternative supplement formats as well as stand-ins for coffee and energy drinks.
The fact is that functional foods and beverages represent the future of wellness. Sales of non-pill formats (think gummies, functional foods and beverages) overtook that of pill supplements in 2019, with a sales advantage of $2.11 billion, and pills are projected to decline in market share every year moving forward (4). Gummies, in particular, are seeing a surge, with the market expected to be four times larger in 2024 than it was in 2016 (when, even then, it was sizable at $4.16 billion) (5). The same is true for powders (projected to double its 2016 market size by 2024) and shots and liquids (which currently represent 12.8% of the supplement market).
enXtra Meets the Market
enXtra is an award-winning proprietary extract of Alpinia galanga, also known as Thai ginger. Commonly used as a spice in Asian cooking, it contains a blend of polyphenols, pyrocateocollic tannins and polysaccharides. Research shows that enXtra promotes alertness, focus and attention for up to 5 hours, thanks to its interaction with dopamine and acetylcholinesterase neurotransmitter pathways.
Recently, OmniActive Health Technologies announced new study results on enXtra, confirming its combined energy and cognitive benefits. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study, a single serving of 300 mg per day of enXtra yielded a quick increase in mental alertness that sustained throughout a five-hour time period. Similarly, scores for attention and focus were greater in the group receiving enXtra, with benefits for attention measured as early as 30 minutes. Perhaps most importantly, enXtra provided a result that subjects could feel, with individuals taking the ingredient rating themselves as feeling more energized and less fatigued at the end of the study. Be on the look out for the publication later on this year.
These findings are consistent with previously published research. One study, which supplemented subjects with either enXtra, caffeine, placebo, Cymbopogon flexuosus (cochin grass) oil, or Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) found that only 300 mg of enXtra increased alertness at 1, 3 and 5 hours (6) via the Attention Network Test (ANT), a test designed to explore the efficiency of the alerting, orienting and executive control networks of attention. Another previous study on healthy, habitual caffeine users found that enXtra can outperform caffeine (as well as a combination of enXtra and caffeine) when it comes to increased mental alertness (7). While caffeine did increase alertness at 1 hour, this effect decreased after 3 hours. enXtra, on the other hand, increased alertness at 1, 3 and 5 hours from baseline.
enXtra fits within current trends, as it’s both caffeine-free and water soluble, offering superior flexibility in formulations. Indeed, enXtra is appropriate for ready-to-drink beverages, bars, stick packs, tablets, capsules, gummies and more.
Plus, it’s manufactured via a sustainable supply chain. Grown in the pristine mountains of Kerala, India—far away from industry pollution—the Thai ginger at the base of enXtra is cultivated using traditional farming practices perfected over three generations. The ingredient is then dehydrated under natural sunlight and a portion of the roots are sown back into the soil to ensure the continuity of the crop. All work is done by hand and farmers earn a sustainable income and live a dignified life.
enXtra is a superior choice for food and beverage brands, as a natural, clean label solution that supports mental energy, and has a sustainability story consumers can feel good about.
For more information on formulating functional ready-to-drink beverages contact OmniActive Health Technologies.
3. OmniInsights 2021
4. Delivery Format Report. Nutrition Business Journal. 2022.
5. Ibid (NBJ)
6. Srivastava S and Pimple S. “Effects of Cymbopogon Flexuosus, Alpinia Galanga, and Glycyrrhiza Glabra on Attention: A Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.” BAOJ Nutrition. 2017: 3(1);042.
7. Srivastava S et al. “Effect of Alpinia galanga on mental alertness and sustained attention with or without caffeine: a randomized placebo-controlled study.” JACN. 2017.