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Key Lessons Learned by Reviewing 4 Up-and-Coming Stress Supplement Brands

Jul 26, 2021

Written By
Kelly Criswell

Raise your hand if your stress levels skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Or just 2020 and 2021 life in general.

We know your hand’s up right now. And we’re right there with you. Actually, we all have both of our hands raised emphatically.

Guess what? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not just us. In fact, two in three adults admitted that the issues facing our country of late (pandemic very much included) overwhelmed them more than usual.

What’s more, wellness, mental health awareness, and general healthy living habits are hot topics right now. As a result, it’s not just that people want to find ways to be less stressed post-pandemic, it’s that they want to find ways to be less stressed naturally. Pastimes like yoga and meditation are being tapped for their calming capabilities. And, from a CPG perspective, food, diet, and natural supplements are increasingly seen as tools to better your body and mind.

Unpacking 4 Stress Supplement Brands Leading the Way to Calm

So, in this unique moment of high stress coupled with a high interest in naturalness, what’s your CPG brand doing to appeal to frazzled consumers?

To get your gears turning and inspire your next big idea, we reviewed four products in the increasingly popular stress supplements space. Even if you’re not traditionally a supplements brand, there’s a lot to learn about up-and-coming herbal ingredients and design trends that’ll likely be coming to a grocery store aisle near you — and your customers — soon.

Sidenote: Why only four brands, you ask? Because we’re serious about our category reviews. We didn’t try these products once and move on. We stuck with them for a while to feel the real effects — and give you the real deets.

1. Apothekary Chill The F* Out Powder

As with all of these stress supplement brands, this particular Apothekary product was effectively targeted to us through Instagram advertising.

On Instagram, their branding and packaging play well. Their benefit claim “chill the f* out” is particularly clever. They crafted an engaging message to tell you exactly how you’ll feel (the product did work) when you consume this powder. Also, the delivery system — the small pharmacy-inspired bottle — is disruptive and stand-out, making Apothekary more memorable.

The product formula is unique from the rest of these products in a good way, too. While many stress supplements (as you’ll see) use ashwagandha, Apothekary also adds in reishi mushrooms.

But it’s not all good with Apothekary, unfortunately.

While their branding works on social media, the brand has a shopability issue on their website. They sell both dietary supplements — things you’re supposed to eat and otherwise consume — and makeup. Bad news: It’s not always clear what’s what, and ending up with face powder in your smoothie is, well, less than ideal.

Finally, and we hate to say it, but Apothekary’s chill the f* out powder is difficult to use. We tried mixing it into multiple drinks — both hot and cold — and it just isn’t soluble enough. The results? A gritty mouthfeel and too earthy taste.

2. Grummies Real Ashwagandha Gummies

Onto what we consider a better form for stress supplements: gummies. Grummies gummies (phew, say that three times fast) is doing the branding and packaging thing very right. With its playful shapes and winding typography, it’s just so energetic, fun, and youthful! This is a welcome departure from the old way of promoting stress relief, which is usually ultra-clinical and stodgy.

At the same time, we appreciate that Grummies leverages predictable, expected colors to differentiate across their varieties. Blue very clearly denotes calm and stress reduction, for instance.

The best thing about Grummies’ Ashwagandha line? The taste! These chewables may as well be candy — total win.

Now, this could vary per person, but we didn’t love the way this product made us feel. Too often, anti-stress is synonymous with sleep and drowsiness. That was true here. We were sluggish and foggy post-Grummies — and not in a good way.

3. Goli Ashwa Gummies

Goli’s stress supplement is similar to Grummies in that they’re ashwagandha gummies as well. But, overall, they’re not as well-done as Grummies.

The design is okay. Again, we appreciate the blue to imply calm, but they’re just too clinical and cold. Unlike Grummies, Goli’s packaging doesn’t work to establish an emotional connection with consumers.

How about a positive attribute? The front-of-pack claims speak to the efficacy of the product and work to establish trust.

Efficacy-wise, these were arguably even more powerful than Grummies. In fact, we were so relaxed we couldn’t function! Remember, everyone’s body will react differently to these stress supplements, but it’s worth noting how we felt after we popped a Goli.

Finally, from our perspective, Goli’s gummies tasted a bit too bitter for any kind of regular use.

4. PYM Original Mood Chews

We saved the best for last. PYM — aka prepare your mind — has something special in their mood chews.

First off, they’re formulated differently than the other products, which right away distinguishes PYM from other options. With l-theanine and rhodiola (and no ashwagandha), they increase focus and relieve stress sans sleepiness, just as advertised. We were ready to tackle the day!

Moreover, their branding and packaging reflect the way you’ll feel after a mood chew perfectly. Instead of using blues and purples to signal sleep, they use yellows and greens. This color palette is uplifting and positive, but still serene. Not to mention that yellow and green would seriously stand out among other stress supplements all in cool colors — another differentiating factor.

From a design perspective, we love the use of abstract shapes to convey a feeling. Also, their main claim — support for overwhelm, anxiety, and stress — simply states what the product does.

The delivery system is innovative and, again, differentiating. It’s in a little tin — perfect to put in your purse and pop before a stressful meeting.

As far as taste goes, they’re okay. They’re not as good as Grummies, but they’re better than Goli. However, because they work so well, we’re willing to forgive the average taste.

Inspired Yet? Key Design Takeaways for Your CPG Brand

We know new ideas don’t usually come that easily. But we do hope reading up on a category that’s becoming more popular all the time got you thinking.

At the very least, take note of some of the key takeaways from these brand reviews when you brainstorm your next product:

  • First, make sure you create a great product that does what you say it does.
  • Send a clear message about the effects consumers can expect.
  • Use color, graphics, and design to establish an emotional connection.
  • Connect your brand and packaging to the experience of using your product.
  • Find a way to differentiate your brand and stand out online or in the aisle.

And remember, taking time to review trends in other spaces can help you be a leader in yours.

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