“Adaptogens and nootropics are nothing new. They have been used in many cultures for thousands of years,” but many Americans are unfamiliar with the ingredients and their historical uses, so education is a key component in marketing Moment, company founder and CEO Aisha Chottani told FoodNavigator-USA.
But, she added, marketing must walk a fine line between education and health claims that could trigger regulatory oversight.
Which is why, she says, Moment’s messaging goes beyond just the ingredients in the brand’s Tulsi Lemon, Rooibos Blood Orange and Hibiscus Dragon Fruit beverages.
“Moment is about creating this gateway into mindfulness and taking a step away from the noise to give yourself a break. And our education is about the overall brand philosophy of creating a ritual for yourself in the afternoon” to find clarity, focus and renewed energy, Chottani said.
She explained that the company’s proprietary blend of ingredients, including ashwagandha, L-theanine and other botanicals, all support this goal, but marketing and consumer outreach focus first on the “overall experience of beverages – starting with how we designed the cans with a tactile feel, to our SMS based medication club” to the beverage’s name – Moment – which encourages consumers to take time for themselves to recharge and find piece before jumping back into the fray.
Many consumers will do their own research on the ingredients in Moment
After appealing to and drawing in consumers with its overall brand philosophy and community engagement, Chottani says consumers will often reach out to learn more – providing an opening for the company to discuss the historical uses of and scientific research on the beverages’ ingredients.
“Customers who have tried the product for a week will often send me emails to share how it has changed their lives,” by allegedly helping them reduce sugar cravings, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, improve their sleeping patterns and give them more energy without the anxiety that can come with an afternoon cup of coffee, Chottani claimed.
She explains to them directly and through social media that the ingredients are curated from different parts of the world to reflect the diversity of her personal life – including growing up in the Middle East, living in South Africa and Europe – and that her mother showed her how to use them to find a sense of calm energy by using them replace her afternoon cup of coffee.
For consumers that want to go deeper, the website explains L-theanine comes from green tea and increases alpha brainwaves – “the same ones experienced with meditating” – to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. It also points to how studies have suggested that ashwagandha can support brain function, lower cortisol levels and help fight stress.
Chottani added that many consumers will do their own research on the ingredients after experiencing their benefits – allowing the company to reap the benefits of enhanced consumer understanding without potentially crossing a regulatory marketing line.
Pandemic raises awareness about mental health
The pandemic also has fueled consumer awareness about mental health and the steps people can take to improve their wellbeing, which Chottani says also has helped Moment.
She explained that before the pandemic if people were having “a tough time,” they didn’t like to talk about it or seek help because they worried it would be labeled as a condition and they’d be medicated or judged negatively.
But now, she says, “society has reached a point where this ‘condition’ grew so much that we realized its okay not to be okay. And we are actively talking about it and people are taking time for themselves and discussing mental health without being assigned a weakness or fear that it will hinder them in some way or impair them for life.”
While Americans may be more comfortable talking about their mental health, many are still uncomfortable with taking pharmaceuticals and are seeking natural alternatives – “which is why having adaptogens and herbal remedies is good because they are scientifically proven to have preventive benefits and to help the body rebalance,” but they are not as intimidating as prescription drugs, Chottani said.
Mainstream adoption of adaptogens, botanicals hinges on accessible distribution
For natural options, including botanicals, to be benificial they must be accessible beyond the natural channel, which can be both intimidating and confusing to some consumers.
With this in mind, Moment launched this month across 500 CVS store locations – as part of the retailer’s effort to promote preventive health and better-for-you options.
“CVS is changing their store layout to create a healthy product section, and these products will be for both physical and mental wellness products,” which is a perfect fit for Moment, Chottani said.
Chottani further is normalizing the idea of meditation and botanicals to support mental and physical well-being by partnering with Victoria Secret’s Pink brand with the launch of a Pink can of Moment, the proceeds of which will go towards nonprofits that support mental wellbeing.
“We also have a couple of other brands that we’re in conversation with who believe in mental health … so there is a lot coming out on that front,” Chottani added.