With no Covid end in sight, a huge shift in the food and beverage industry aims to boost not only immunity but mood management, cognitive function, and beauty from within. Many functional ingredients are being brought into the limelight to aid in these areas. Ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, adaptogens and other supplements are finding their way into stick packs, RTD beverages and various snacks to help make products more natural

The scale of functionality starts in the green with more recognizable ingredients and extends into less widely known ingredients in the red.


Immunity has been hot since the pandemic began in March 2020 with Immune health growing 26% CAGR between July 2016 to June 2021 according to Innova Market Insights. Supplements like Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D started to fly off the shelves. Since then, the food industry has investigated what other ingredients have immune modulation. Vitamins A, C and D have all been proven to be good immune boosters alongside Zinc. Ingredients like Ginger and Turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties. And extracts from Turkey Tail Mushrooms, Elderberries, and Acerola Cherries have popped up as extra source of vitamins and antioxidants. Immune focused products are popping up everywhere from 2 oz. shots, enhanced waters, and sparkling beverages to protein drinks and coffees. The traction behind immunity is not slowing down as prevention against disease has 40% of consumers buying immune boosting products. 

Mood Management 

The pandemic brought on a lot of stress, anxious feelings, and a funk for many people. In fact, mental health is more prominent now than ever before with 44% of global consumers taking action to improve their mental and emotional well-being according to an Innova Consumer Lifestyle & Attitudes Survey. Mood boosting ingredients have gotten popular to help combat the darkness surrounding these never-ending unprecedented times. Our mood really starts with our gut. The gut is one of our body’s hormone regulators, that can help control immune responses and control our satiety. There are millions of neurons in the gut that help to regulate mood. Some ingredients trending for mood management and counteracting stress on the body are CBD, Probiotics, Magnesium, Adaptogens like Ashwagandha, and Holy Basil. Ready to drink tonics, CBD sodas and stick packs are filled with great ingredients to boost energy and improve mood. 

Cognitive Function 

Covid left a lot of people feeling a brain fog and not at their sharpest. According to a recent Innova Market Insights survey, 43% of respondents reported that they are interested in ingredients to improve mood and increase focus. This is a highly trending space for products that aim to combat the effects of aging, boost brain performance, and cognitive enhancers. These ingredients are called nootropics. Some prominent ingredients in this space include L-Theanine, Lion Mane, and Bacopa Monnieri. These have been shown to possibly reduce the effects of neurodegenerative diseases, help to repair nerve damage, and help to improve memory. Added into morning coffee, daily green powders and in a growing number of ready to drink beverages, these ingredients are light in flavor and are easily masked with Natural Flavor and sweetness.  

Beauty From Within 

According to an Innova Market Insights survey, Gen Z has bought more functional food and beverages geared toward appearance than any other function. Many people have known about the benefits of antioxidants against free radicals in our bodies for years. The concept of healthy skin and hair function stemming from what we eat, or drink has not really been thought of until now. Many extracts like Aloe Vera, Astaxanthin, and Tremella Mushroom have vast amounts of antioxidants and these ingredients can promote anti-inflammatory in them to help support skin elasticity, help retain moisture and help improve the texture of skin. Collagen has been shown to help replenish collagen stores in the body and helps to build and support many tissues. These ingredients have been added to functional waters, stick packs and gummies. This movement really focuses on healing from the inside out and hammers home the idea that we are what we eat. 

Top Flavors 

  1. Hibiscus 
  2. Clementine +23% 
  3. Peach 
  4. Berry 

The biggest trend that stays true for all these categories is flavor. Flavor always remains top of mind to consumers. When products taste great and helps the body, consumers are bound to come back for more. The opportunities for growth in the functional space are vast. As consumers continue to look for drinks to benefit them, we will be here to help you with your formulation. From concept to commercialization, we are your partner in building your products and your brand.