Last month we launched in Erewhon markets and noticed something - everything, from drinks to bars to cake mixes, has adaptogens in them now! As we are big believers in the powers of herbs and plants, that's exciting.
But then we noticed something else: a lot of products don't list how much mushroom or herb they have 😬 From a market standpoint, there is no required quantity of adaptogenic or tonic herb that you have to put before you can make claims. i.e. one can either sprinkle a tiny dusting of reishi in a drink, or one can put full therapeutic doses in, but both can make the same statement of "contains reishi" and "immune support."
Conceptually, the US consumer base understands that functional foods require functional doses. When you shop for a protein bar, one of the first things you look for is how much protein is in each serving - let's say 11g. You don't buy protein bars that just say "contains protein" - you would be wondering how much! And perhaps more specifically, you may be looking for an amount that you feel is right for your body and lifestyle. We see the same with sports drinks and electrolytes, energy drinks and caffeine. Because there is an expectation of quantity of said functional element, there is practically an unspoken requirement for companies and products in those spaces to disclose quantities of that functional element.
The same logic applies to the adaptogenic and tonic herb market, but it is still in its early days, and consumers are still becoming educated on them. Reishi has a typical "dose" amount, and that matters to get its benefits. Typical reishi doses range from 1.0g - 1.5g of extract, so if you were buying a product that you wanted to gain the full benefits of that herb from, you'd want to be sure the product was infused as such!
So it's time for us to get educated on the world of herbs, understand dosing, and let that knowledge inform our consumption. When consumers are knowledgeable and require that information, producers have to step up and make high-quality, efficacious functional products.
That's it for now. Another important aspect to note is the *quality* of the herb - but we'll save that for another blog and get into the principles of di-dao, growing substrates, extraction methods and ratios, and a whole lot more!
Much love 🙏💕💫