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How to Win in the Cognitive Supplement Category

Cognitive Supplements
July 14, 2022

The cognitive supplement category is only growing. With things like nootropics and the success of data findings in TeaCrine® and Dynamine™, it is only a matter of time before nearly everyone who seeks to gain energy, mood, motivation and, more recently, focus lean into the benefits and away from the reservations of what what their previous routines were.

With things like the League of Legends World Championship drawing bigger interest than the Super Bowl, the cognitive category is something to pay very close attention to.

Everyone wants to capture a piece of this market and unseat Alpha Brain and GFuel, but formulators continue to make a couple mistakes that are easily rectified and will give them access to this enticing market.

  1. Few are paying close enough attention to the target market of cognitive supplement.
  2. Formulators are confusing cognitive performance with cognitive protection.

GFuel is essentially flavored caffeine. It’s not a great formula, yet it sells. Why?
The two most likely reasons are 1) taste and 2) influencer authenticity. The target market is young. They’re interested in cognitive performance and taste. They’re obviously not agonizing over the formula and whether it’s protecting them from a future of Alzheimer’s. They just want to “feel it.”

Issue #1: Target market

Most buyers of nootropics, eSports and cognitive supplements are looking for an immediate effect—real performance.

Issue #2: Performance vs protection

“Performance” typically means nearly immediate perception of increased energy, mood, focus and/or motivation. “Protection” typically means improved memory.

  • Performance ingredients include: caffeine, Dynamine™, TeaCrine®, ginseng, bacopa, rhodiola, theobromine, tyrosine, PEA and more.
  • Protection ingredients include fish oil, DHA, acetyl carnitine, ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylerine, phosphatidylcholine, and more

Cognitive supplement protection ingredients typically benefit memory and attention after an extended period of supplementation (i.e. one month or more). The target market is typically 40+. Cognitive supplement protection formulas don’t typically address the gut-brain connection or vagal tone. Instead, a typical protection formula would look something like this:
Ingredients: Ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, theanine, tyrosine, B6, B12.
Given the target market for eSports is young, and market for caffeine is astronomically large, the opportunity in the performance category is infinite.
The opportunity is in nailing the taste and influencer authenticity while also bringing a superior formula and sensory experience to the table. Improving the formula and sensory experience is low-hanging fruit. This is how to win.
In a performance nootropic, the goals are typically:

  • Long-lasting energy
  • No crash; no jitters
  • Improved mood and focus

The foundation of a nootropic or cognitive supplement formula that hits these objectives is rooted in a recent pharmacokinetic study. The study showed the combination of caffeine, Dynamine™ and TeaCrine® can increase caffeine’s half-life in the body by up to 300%! The same combination was also shown to improve cognitive performance in gamers, using arguably the best gaming training platform in the world with more than five million active users. Additionally, TeaCrine® activates dopamine receptors for improved mood and motivation. Because those in eSports or “spreadsheet athletes” are getting after it for hours on end, caffeine, Dynamine™ and TeaCrine® are a critical foundation to the formula. Further options include theobromine, PEA or other polyphenols to enhance the sensory experience. Target-specific ingredients may also be considered such as vitamin D3, trace minerals and antioxidant complexes.
Ingredients: Caffeine (natural or anhydrous), Dynamine, TeaCrine, theobromine, lutein, magnesium, B6, B12, and D3.
In performance nootropics, most spend their formulation dollars on optimizing the sensory experience.
To discuss unique cognitive formulas designed to win with consumers, or to request R&D samples, contact us.

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