Frutarom sees growth potential for fast-acting ingredients in cognitive health category

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags Psychology Oat

Ingredient supplier Frutarom is refining the position of its green oat extract Neuravena as a fast-acting cognitive enhancer to fill what it says is an unmet need in the brain health category, which it claims is over saturated with products aimed at preventing decline in the long-term.

“We see saturation and loss of interest from consumers for cognitive health products that you have to take day after day after day for a long time to hope you will have an effect -- if you have an effect at all,”​ said Nicolas Meyrial, VP of sales and business development for the business unit health North America.

“The consumer increasingly is looking for a product where they feel that immediate cognitive enhancement; that is why we put so much effort in Neuravena,”​ he added.

He explained that new research conducted by the company and awaiting publication found 800 mg of Neuravena, extracted from an ancient wild oat variety Avena Sativa L., improved study participants’ reaction time within just one hour of dosing.

Specifically, the placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized cross-over study found when participants took Neuravena they reacted 0.019 seconds faster compared to baseline to stimuli across a battery of tests that assessed global functioning, attention, working memory, episodic memory and executive functioning. Comparatively, their reaction times improved only 0.005 seconds from baseline when they took a placebo.

Previous research on the ingredient showed it improved cognitive assessment for attention and concentration in people and improved peripheral and cerebral blood flow, but this most recent research will set the ingredient apart from competitors, Meyrial said.

“A lot of cognitive ingredients are targeting more memory in the aging population”​ with products that build up cognitive targets over time, he said. “But, here, we are coming in with a totally different angle, which is targeting athletes and student populations with an acute immediate boost of cognitive focus.”

He added that by targeting the “Red Bull consumer”​ with a fast-acting cognitive ingredient that “people can feel,”​ Frutarom also will help its consumers increase repurchase rates with their consumers.

Currently, the market is seeing “a huge attrition rate with consumers who, after a while, stop using”​ the long-term products because they cannot easily perceive a benefit, he said.

Neuravena is a cognitive aid, not a stimulant

Even though Frutarom is going after the same consumer as Red Bull, Neuravena will not compete with the energy drink, Meyrial clarified.

“We don’t expect people to mix Neuravena with vodka so they can stay awake and party,”​ he said. Rather, Neuravena is offering different benefits.

It offers consumers mental clarity and focus that can be associated with caffeine, but without the energy rush or accompanying jitters or crash, he explained. “It is not a stimulant.”

The powder also can be easily formulated into applications that younger consumers prefer, such as stick packs that dissolve in drinks, gummies and functional foods, Meyrial said, noting many young consumers perceive the pills and tablets that currently crowd the market as something for older people.

“The beauty of this ingredient is it is water soluble and has a very neutral taste so it has applications in dietary supplements, but also in functional beverages and by extension sports nutrition products and, therefore, can give brands an edge when they need it,”​ he said.

A final benefit that Meyrial highlighted is that by targeting younger consumers than those who traditionally use brain health products, Frutarom is helping to create lifetime consumers for the category.

He explained that as the consumers age out of needing immediate cognitive help for school or stressful jobs, they will transition directly into the well-established market of products for long-term care and protection of mental health.

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