Shoppers Look to Relieve Stress Through Functional Ingredients

The right functional ingredients might aid sleep habits, focus, and boost energy—even as the world stays hectic.

stress wellness

In a more typical time, the average person already has plenty of reasons to stress out and lose sleep about what’s happening in their lives. For the last couple of years, however, there have been even more reasons to feel unsettled on both macro and micro levels. The ongoing pandemic, economic concerns, political events, and supply chain issues are all affecting daily life for pretty much everyone. A recent American Psychiatric Association poll found 87% of surveyed Americans have some anxiety about inflation, in addition to growing concerns about income and violence. These are not issues anyone can completely remove themselves from, and they create the perfect recipe for feeling all the negative effects of anxiety and stress—from fatigue to restlessness to mood fluctuations.

In addition to consulting with trained professionals who can help them manage stress, shoppers are finding ways to bring ingredients into their daily routines that might also help. The right functional ingredients might aid their sleep habits, help them focus, and boost their energy—even as the world stays hectic.

Adequate Sleep is the Foundation for Wellness

Most people know the sluggish feeling that comes after a bad night’s rest, but the effects are more serious than that. One study finds that despite CDC and American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidance that everyone should get at least seven hours of sleep each night, approximately one-third of Americans do not. This lack of adequate sleep matters because it can have ripple effects on overall wellness—especially mental wellness. In fact, the study found that people who didn’t get enough sleep were three times as likely to experience mental distress. Sleep is a bedrock that influences wellness inside and out. Shoppers are certainly prioritizing a good night’s rest and opting for products that make that possible. Vitamin, mineral, and supplement products with functional ingredients that are often thought to improve sleep are up 13.6% overall. At the ingredient level, sales for magnesium grew 48.7%, CBD 29.4%, chamomile 22.7%, and melatonin 14.1%.

Thinking Clearly is Not Always Easy

All of these major stressors combined with inadequate sleep can make for a foggy mind. Plus, many workers are now in their home office, which has its benefits but also means there can be extra distractions and longer workdays. Working, parenting, and just checking items off a to-do list can suffer without a clear mind. That’s likely why functional ingredients known to boost cognitive health are on the rise. Products with phosphatidyl serine, which some shoppers believe improves memory, have grown 16%. Meanwhile, sales for reishi mushroom products—which are thought to help with overactive minds—are up 8.5%.

A Good Mood Can Be Hard to Find

A good mood might not come to everyone easily as stress levels rise, but it can be a huge difference in life. Some researchers have found a connection between a person’s mood and their decisions about how they spend their time. A good mood can make necessary but laborious tasks manageable and ultimately lead to a more productive day, which also means fewer items to stress about in the future. Supplements focused on mood support are up 30.6% overall, suggesting shoppers know which ingredients might give them a much-needed boost these days. Combating stress is one of ashwagandha’s many uses, and a likely reason sales are up 92.6%. Meanwhile, sales for Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is frequently thought to have calming effects, are up 22.4%.

These Times Call for an Energy Boost 

Between work, parenting, social obligations, exercise, and daily chores, even the most productive person can hit a wall. The morning cup of coffee (or two) can only provide so much energy before its effectiveness wanes. Whereas athletes often turn to pre-workout and performance supplements, many shoppers are choosing supplements that give them the energy lift they need—and sometimes the ingredients between the two overlap. Such is the case with yohimbe, an ingredient that comes from tree bark and has experienced a 21.4% sales growth. Maca and beet root have also seen increased sales—20.8% and 11% respectively—and both share similar reputations for bringing a natural increase in energy levels.

When shoppers head to the store, they’re thinking about all aspects of their wellness—and that includes managing day-to-day stress. Brands and retailers should educate shoppers about the ingredients and items that can help them relax and ensure those products are accessible. Not only is it a great service to shoppers, but it is also a way to earn trust and loyalty.

(All data from SPINS Natural Enhanced and MULO channels, powered by IRI for the 52 weeks ending July 10, 2022.)

“The right functional ingredients might aid sleep habits, focus, and boost energy—even as the world stays hectic.”