Sleep matters: Less than a third Japanese consumers are satisfied with their sleep

May 22, 2023

With higher stress levels and sleep concerns, consumers are looking for solutions that promote improved sleep. Mintel data reveals that only 29% of Japanese consumers are satisfied with their sleep, while 57% of Japanese women in their 30s have three or more sleep problems.

On May 17th, Mintel joined in the IFIA Japan 2023 trade show, the leading food ingredients and additives, and functional food ingredients event in Japan. At the show, Michelle Teodoro, Mintel Global Food Science Analyst, gave an exclusive presentation on the state of global sleep benefit product innovation, including the sleep health innovation opportunities for brands and manufacturers.

Michelle said, “As the connection between sleep health and overall health / self-care strengthens, and consumer become more and more interested in sleep solutions, opportunities for brands to explore the potential of sleep health benefits in new applications are emerging. There are unique consumer needs, behaviors, and trends that influence ingredients and formulation in this sector, and our insights and recommendations help brands understand where to focus their attention in the future.”

Position sleep health as part of total wellbeing

According to Mintel Trend ‘Total Wellbeing’, the concept of total wellbeing is a global phenomenon that is pushing the boundaries of sleep as a comprehensive step for wellness. Mintel data reveals that 55% of Japanese consumers think maintaining or improving day-to-day physical health is the most beneficial to sleep.

However, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), over the last five years (Mar 2018 – Feb 2023), less than one percent of global food, drink, and supplement launches held a stress and sleep health claim, primarily driven by tea and supplements.

Michelle suggested, ”Consumer interest in sleep management is growing as part of the broader health context of wellness. Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health. Our research shows the vital benefits of nutrition on better sleep, but there have been very few stress and sleep health vitamins and supplements (VMS) launches, indicating that developing products that offer sleep benefits is a white space opportunity.”

Connect dairy with sleep and relaxation

Mintel research shows that Thai consumers think beyond the physical health benefits of milk, revealing that milk brands can deliver brain health (55%), good sleep (41%) and mood enhancement (30%); meanwhile, 54% of Chinese consumers say they would like healthy milk products to aid sleep.

Michelle continued, ” Our research shows good use cases of dairy products supporting sleep, taking advantage of the well-established benefits of milk on sleep. Brands that focus on the importance of milk’s magnesium and tryptophan for stress and sleep, as well as to consider adding functional sleep ingredients in dairy food and drink are well-placed to see market opportunity.”

Win over consumers with natural food ingredients

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), micronutrients and botanicals lead global sleep aid/stress relief launches: chamomile (25%), balm (20%), and lavender (15%) are popular functional ingredients in food, drink, and supplement launches with functional stress and sleep claims.

Meanwhile, some consumers are starting to believe that melatonin-free sleep health products are a great alternative for improving sleep quality without risking melatonin dependence or melatonin-related side effects. Mintel data shows that 37% of Chinese consumers agree that taking sleep enhancing supplements like melatonin would cause side effects.

Michelle concluded, ”Brands are faced with the opportunity to provide more suitable sleep products for consumers and should consider from these aspects: formulate with gentle and multifunctional natural sleep ingredients (eg adaptogens and nervines), offer melatonin-free products for those who want to improve their sleep quality without relying on possibly side effect inducing supplementation, and back functional sleep ingredients with solid science.”

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