PRESS RELEASE: Solving the nootropic ingredient puzzle

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Every day, everywhere, more and more people are turning to foods and beverages to boost their memory, focus, attention and energy levels – and, particularly during the pandemic, to manage their mood and wellbeing.

“Over the last few years industry has introduced a new buzzword to describe this space – nootropics – and a growing segment of business is paying attention to it,” says Julian Mellentin, author of a new Strategy Briefing on the subject.

Nootropics are substances taken to improve cognitive function or mental performance in healthy people – things everyone wants. According to a survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), a third of American consumers are looking for memory, focus and cognition benefits from their food and drink.

But while there’s strong consumer demand for their benefits, nootropic brands don’t perform as well as their owners hoped – in fact, most fail.

“I wrote this Strategy Briefing because nootropics is a very high-risk area which is difficult for companies to navigate, and it’s important to see past the misleading hype that dominates this area,” explains Mellentin, a food industry expert who is director of consultancy New Nutrition Business.

“The challenge of delivering a product that both tastes good and delivers a feel-the-benefit effect, and is convenient, has been a major barrier to success in this category,” he says. “Products such as Ārepa’s blackcurrant beverage in New Zealand, which deliver on these two requirements, are rare. Successful products usually use ingredients that consumers understand and accept, from caffeine to B vitamins.”

“If you choose ingredients such as cordyceps mushrooms or tulsi, you have a major challenge of low consumer familiarity. That makes it hard for anyone but a niche of health-active people to believe in the benefit your product is offering,” says Mellentin.

“Using cordyceps mushrooms, for example, is a strategy choice to either be a niche brand or, if your ambitions are bigger, to commit commercial suicide,” he adds.

In this concise Strategy Briefing, Mellentin highlights six strategies for success in this emerging area and explores common pitfalls. The report outlines:

  • Which ingredients to use, including a review of 16 ingredients and their benefits
  • Which consumer benefits to target
  • Which ingredients and benefits get most consumer attention on social media


  1. Editors can request comment or arrange an interview by contacting: North America - Dale Buss at or 248/953-2701 International Mikaela Linden at
  2. Nootropics – strategies and ingredients to deliver success in an emerging market is available to buy at
  3. Julian Mellentin is a consultant specialising in the international business of food, nutrition and health. He is director of New Nutrition Business, which provides expert consultancy services to agriculture, ingredient and branded product companies on all aspects of nutrition and health, focusing on concrete, implementable strategies. New Nutrition Business’ monthly publication provides case studies and analysis of success and failure in the global nutrition business and is used by companies in 42 countries. Find out more at