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How mood-boosting foods and drinks can capitalise on COVID-19 - analysis - FREE TO ACCESS

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the majority of the world's population into lockdown, and many are feeling isolated, fearful of potential infection and uncertain about what the future holds. As a result, consumers are looking for ways to feel calm and achieve a sense of optimism.

This trend highlights the opportunity for brands with products positioned as 'mood-boosting' to potentially create a loyal consumer base for years to come.

Until recently, consumers' criteria for being 'healthy' merely included the food or beverages that they consumed. Now, consumers hold a more holistic perception of wellbeing that spans both physical and emotional aspects. This will drive the proliferation of food and beverage products that boast features beyond taste alone and promote mental and emotional wellbeing.

Uplift Food is a start-up based in the US that aims to do just this. The company claims to own the world's first functional food brand that focusses on the "mood-supportive benefits of pre-biotic gut-healthy foods". Its product range includes cookies that contain pre-biotic-rich, plant-based ingredients. Similarly, Nightfood produces low-sugar, high-protein ice cream that is said to help consumers get a good night's sleep. While the ice cream doesn't contain sleep-aid supplements, it was formulated with nutritionists and sleep experts, according to the company. 

According to GlobalData's COVID-19 latest tracker survey this month, 24% of consumers globally claim to be buying more, significantly more, or stockpiling chocolate and confectionery now, compared to before the outbreak. Products offered by Uplift Food and Nightfood are well-positioned to capture the elevated consumer demand for indulgent snacks, while offering the added benefit of feeling uplifted and aiding better sleep, respectively. 

LA-based Kickback Cold Brew is another strong contender for this emerging 'mood-boosting' trend; the company's namesake brand comprises an organic RTD cold brew coffee and an RTD tea, both of which contain CBD derived from hemp. Kickback Cold Brew's products are said to deliver the "perfect balance of caffeine and hemp" to provide users with an energy source that does not overstimulate. Specifically, the brand intends to provide users with a "functional chill", which it describes as an energy boost that can be achieved while maintaining a peaceful state of mind.

These types of brands are likely to be positively received by the 83% of global consumers who are influenced by how a product or service impacts their health and wellbeing when making a purchase, according to GlobalData's survey. Even in a post-pandemic world, consumers are likely to remain uncertain about the future, stimulating interest in products that aid relaxation and a feeling of calm.

The potential is there, then, for mood-boosting foods and drinks to move into the mainstream in the future.

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