06 Jul 2023 --- Kerry has blended two proprietary ingredients to help consumers get a good night’s sleep while supporting their natural defenses. Wellmune Adapt blends Kerry’s Wellmune baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, Sensoril ashwagandha and vitamin C.

The ingredient is launching exclusively in the US and can be incorporated into capsules, tablets, gummies, powder mixes, soft gels and liquids. 

Expanding immunity 
Wellmune Adapt comes as consumers increasingly look for immunity supplements paired with additional benefits.

“After the explosion of immune health in 2020, we wanted to see if innovation was still happening in the immunity space,” Dr. Niamh Hunt, global marketing manager of immune and joint health for ProActive Health at Kerry, tells Nutrition Insight.

“The short answer is ‘yes.’ We see new formulations have additional health benefits, for example, probiotics for immunity plus digestive health.” 

In Wellmune Adapt, ashwagandha supports stress and sleep, while beta-glucan and vitamin C support the immune system. The product is positioned to address stress as an indirect avenue to the immune system. 

Dr. Hunt, a young blonde business professional woman. Dr. Niamh Hunt, global marketing manager of immune and joint health for ProActive Health at Kerry.Mood boom
Mental health was a natural fit to pair with immunity, being the two megatrends that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Consumers are looking for stress [relief] paired with immune health benefits in products,” says Hunt.

“In 2020, when this trend began, three-quarters of immune health product launches also had a brain or mental health claim.” 

Fast forward to 2022, these health areas are still top of mind. Innova reports that last year, “immunity” was the top claim in supplement launches, appearing on 33% of global launches in 2022, with “brain-mood” claims coming in second, occurring in 26% of launches. 

“We know that 71% of consumers associate good sleep with supporting their immune system and three in four agree that being mentally healthy boosts the immune system,” Hunt continues.  

Ashwagandha branches out
Hunt feels bullish about the market for natural ingredients from plants, noting that “one-third of consumers are looking to botanicals to support their stress or mood.” 

Ashwagandha interest is gaining pace, with 59% of global consumers associating it with supporting their sleep support goals, she shares. 

“That’s a really high figure for an ingredient that’s only come onto the market in recent years. Ashwagandha is hot on the market. It’s in consumers’ minds, and as more products launch with this ingredient, the more consumers will associate it with stress and sleep support.”

Kerry notes that 71% of consumers associate getting enough sleep with immune health.Growing awareness is also reflected in global product launches. In the last five years, launches with ashwagandha have increased 116%, details Hunt. 

Kerry added Sensoril ashwagandha to its ProActive Health portfolio when it acquired the Ayurvedic extract company Natreon last year. 

Backed by science 
Importantly, the two-in-one blend consists of branded ingredients that have been clinically tested for efficacy. Brands can communicate this by including the Wellmune Adapt logo on the label, which can direct consumers to look up the product’s studies, says Hunt.

Wellmune is supported by over a dozen clinical studies on more than 2,300 adults and children, while Sensoril ashwagandha has more than 16 clinical studies, she adds. “They are very well scientifically substantiated.”

Food for mood
Capsules and tablets are some of the most expected formats for Wellmune Adapt, but functional beverages can also be formulated with the ingredient. 

Hunt notes that ashwagandha in a beverage can be challenging due to its naturally bitter taste. 

Demonstrating its expertise in taste and nutrition, Kerry showcased its Wellmune Adapt ingredient in a mango and coconut immunity shot. The product concept leveraged the company’s TasteSense portfolio to mask the botanical. 

Givaudan has also innovated to bring adaptogens to beverages with an ashwagandha infusion. 

By Missy Green 

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