Expectations of food are getting higher and higher. Meals and snacks that are healthy for your body aren’t good enough; they need to sustain your mind as well. There is increased attention to a holistic health approach, in which nutrition impacts both physical and mental well-being.
Worldwide, 63% of consumers now look for food that delivers on mental health, according to our survey among thousands of consumers in 44 countries. These five concepts make clever use of the interest in mental health, and produce good mood foods.
Mental health is hot
Functional foods that combat anxiety were popular during the pandemic, but continue to be a hot topic online. Anti-anxiety solutions were most popular in Chinese and Japanese languages.
In the Chinese-language area, people looked at home pastry baking, mood-boosting ice creams, and strawberry flavored treats. In Japanese, chocolate, convenience store snacks and CBD products piqued interest. Ready-made anti-stress solutions in the form of dietary supplements were the most sought-after.
Functional ingredients that boost your mood
Chocolate is an important ingredient that helps with mental balance. Chocolate contains ingredients such as magnesium and GABA, which are soothing and relaxing. 53% of consumers recognize the healing aspects of their favorite snack, and state that chocolate is healthy.
Besides chocolate, good-mood foods contain beneficial ingredients such as nootropics and adaptogens. Nootropics are substances that enhance cognition and memory, helping with mental clarity and focus. The best-known nootropic is caffeine, but other examples are B-vitamins and the amino acid L-theanine, which can be found in green tea.
Adaptogens, often herbs, give the mind a boost by combating mental fatigue, increasing energy, and helping to manage stress hormones. Mushrooms, ashwagandha and ginseng are some of the best-known adaptogens.
These five brands all use functional ingredients to turn their products into mood-boosting foods:
1. Vosges Chocolate
Ever heard of ‘high vibe’ chocolate? That’s chocolate that according to the brand Vosges increases the blood flow and heart rate, but also opens the heart chakra. Consuming high-vibe foods assists in “attracting positive experiences, alignment with positive people, access to our deepest intuition and connection with our spirit”.
Vosges products don’t just offer a functional aspect, but a spiritual one as well. When the chocolate cools from liquid to solid, it is infused with a 528hZ frequency that should create a transformational and healing experience, which improves physical and mental health. Vosges offers cacao elixirs that boosts energy and mood, bars with adaptogens such as spirulina and matcha that can substitute a cup of coffee, but also sets that include chocolate, crystals and meditation cards.
2. B.T.R. Bar
The protein bars from B.T.R. Bar are made to give a boost pre- or post-workout, or for all-day snacking. Functional ingredients like reishi mushroom, cacao, and pumpkin seed protein in the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bliss bar should lift the spirits and make people feel better.
The bar is keto and paleo-friendly, clean label, and is intended to taste like a soft-baked peanut butter cookie. Other products from B.T.R. Bar include a Dark Chocolate Brownie Bar called Recharge to get over the mid-afternoon slump or an overloaded brain, and the Energy Cinnamon Cookie Dough to energize.
3. Good Day Chocolate
Good Day Chocolate claims to be ‘better than a pill or gummie’. The brand makes chocolate snacks with supplements, combining the functional aspects of both. There are three mental health areas consumers can choose to improve with their Calm, Energy and Sleep varieties. There’s even a special children’s line with the same options.
The calming variety contains amino acids, theanine, chamomile and magnesium, coated in a milk chocolate sugar shell, to help consumers unwind. They recommend a daily dose of one to four treats, where one piece acting as a chill pill and four pieces are for maxin’ & relaxin’.
4. Mindright snack bars
Mindright is set out to produce food that fuels the brain, not just the body. “Everything we want to do is going to have a positive influence on brain health led by your mood”, says co-founder Chris Bernard. “Mood support is really important to us, and that’s the foundation of the brand.” The snack bars are formulated to support mental health and help combat stress.
Adaptogens are added to fuel energy levels, antioxidants are for improving blood flow to the brain, and nootropics boost brain function and enhance focus. Mindright has even trademarked this mix of active ingredients as their ‘happy brain blend’. Their bars contain nootropics and adaptogens like ashwagandha, cordyceps, and ginseng. The bitter notes of these ingredients are countered by adding coconut sugar.
5. Nightfood ice cream
Ice cream that helps you sleep better, is what Nightfood promises. Their pints of ice cream—in flavors ranging from cold brew decaf and mint chocolate chip to pickles—contain sleep-friendly ingredients such as tryptophan, magnesium and B6, but also prebiotic fiber and digestive enzymes.
The company, run with sleep experts at the wheel, is honest about its effects. Nightfood has a clear ‘reality check’ on the website stating that consumers shouldn’t expect miracles or a magic cure. They mention the importance of better sleep hygiene, less screen time before bed, and a cool and dark bedroom, although Nightgood is a better, healthier and sleep-friendly alternative to regular ice cream.
Discover more power ingredients
Grains, seeds, wholegrain, nuts, and fruits… consumers love foods with added ingredients that come with a health benefit. During our 2021 consumer research, we asked people around the world what they see as the strongest power ingredients for bakery, patisserie, and chocolate, which reveals some interesting regional differences. Explore all the different power ingredients.