Adopting Adaptogens: Consumers look to add flavor and health benefits

It isn’t bold to say that the recent pandemic has ushered in more negative changes than positive ones. One area, however, that is benefiting from a positive bounce is those looking to increase focus and find ways to maintain good health.

Our recent foodie study highlighted an emerging trend of people looking to boost immunity through diets and searching for ways to increase their body’s arsenal of protection. A fairly new player in the space, adaptogens, has seen a sharp increase in conversation since the start of the pandemic with a forecast of 7% year-over-year growth in the next eight years. If you are unfamiliar with adaptogens, these non-toxic plants are thought to help the body resist stressors, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs, plants, and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions but are beginning to take on more importance here in the US.  Adaptogens are finding a new acceptance and, most importantly, new product opportunities.

Adaptogens come in many forms and are often not only good for you but also serve as flavor enhancers. Some, like turmeric, can be added as a seasoning to a meal. Lion’s mane and chaga add health benefits to a morning beverage to make mushroom coffee. Others, like astragalus and rhodiola are used in supplements or turned into powders to add to smoothies or beverages, or sprinkled on food.  Why not have our food do double duty?  Taste good and be good for us.

This sparked our interest even more when in our social narratives we found this interesting question. “Why can’t our happy hour beverage also provide health benefits?” Said in jest, it does bring up some unique possibilities. Why not use adaptogens to satisfy taste and support health? Boozy kombucha may be old hat, but what about adding hibiscus to our martinis for a calming effect?

Build on the ginger trend and add it to our gin and tonic to help fight off disease?

Sprinkle turmeric into our margarita to guard our heart?

Brands like Kin, Bitter Love, and Proposition Cocktail Co. have already taken notice and are adding some adaptogens, especially the new darling, ashwagandha, to alcohol/alcohol-free and mixers that are a delight to drink and a benefit to your health.  These brands lean into the relaxation aspect but are also emphasizing better energy, supporting joint health, cognitive benefits, and overall wellness.

So, the next time you want to try something different for dinner, consider adding turmeric to your meatloaf or tulsi to your vodka tonic and follow it up with a relaxing mushroom hot chocolate. You never know, you may feel better for it!




  • Joy Boggio

    Joy has spent a lifetime of wondering if there is a different way. A seasoned research professional, she discovered the “joy” of social listening anthropology and was energized to find ways to help brands tap into consumer behavior. Long-time friends, Joy and Quester president Tim Hoskins would eventually meet up at the bar during conferences to plan and plot where research could go next. A decade later, the time was right for them to start putting these theories into action.

    Social Narratives is not only a natural extension for Quester but also for Joy’s talent of making connections, seeing patterns, and translating what it can mean to others.

    Joy’s love of people starts with her family which includes two married kiddos, three furry grandbabies, and one human grandson as well as a supportive husband. She loves her Peloton (early adopter baby!), her weights, and all things puzzles including the New York Times puns and anagrams which will break your brain.

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