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We are moving forwards into a new era of healthy eating. Part and parcel of this is the rise in demand for superfoods, and within them food complexes called adaptogens. Consumers and food scientists are turning to these new ingredients to help power the busy lifestyles and the long lifespans of contemporary societies.

In many respects this feels like the wave in demand for vitamins in the 1970s. This new surge in product take up is being led by celebrities who are turning to adaptogens not just for their own use, but are also backing their own product ranges. For example actress Kate Hudson last year launched a brand of powders that included adaptogens as a core ingredient.

But this is not just about those pursuing super fitness regimes – these organic products are starting to get widespread take up, helping to manage conditions within our societies that are becoming increasingly prevalent, like stress and high blood pressure.

Part of the emphasis here is also on ensuring that ingredients are free of synthetic materials, as well as gluten and sugar.

Rritual Superfoods is targeting the premium health supplement space

Rritual Superfoods (CNSX:RSF / FRA: ORW), which just listed in Canada on the CSE via a $5m IPO, is already drawing considerable investor interest. The company has been valued at $20m in its totality. Rritual is focused on the development of a range of high-quality branded food supplements that leverage the benefits of adaptogens. These are non-toxic herbs, roots and fungi that work to increase your body’s ability to resist stressors, helping it to function at optimum levels.

In Rritual’s case it uses organic mushroom mycelium grown on gluten-free whole oats and organic brown rice, and which are harvested from US mushroom farms. These produce bioactive compounds and metabolites that are found in the world’s greatest superfoods.

Rritual specialises in what are called ‘functional mushrooms’ – fungi that play a part in the development of a healthy body and mind.

As ever, this approach to foods and health is not a new one. Ancient societies understood the benefits of many of these ingredients, it’s just that most of us have forgotten them, and have turned to artificially manufactured drugs and supplements instead. Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines have utilised them for centuries.

Premium range of superfood products

The superfoods already being manufactured by Rritual include chaga powder (which has been used to centuries to support the immune system), lion’s mane powder (which help to counteract the inflammatory response in the brain) and reishi powder (a mushroom powder that has been proven to help calm the nerves and relax the body and mind).

These foods form the core of the Rritual product line and are packaged and marketed as premium level food supplement products. The initial target markets are the US and Canada and the company has a co-packing agreement in place with Protein Research. It is pursuing a distribution strategy that is split between online sales and bricks and mortar in its main target markets.

We are seeing a rise in demand for products globally that feed into the health and wellness trend. Every street in the developed world now seems to have a gym, but they are now being supplemented with specialist stores selling health foods to supplement the diets of those concerned about their health and well being.

High grade health supplements represent a fast growing market

The global superfoods market was valued at $137bn in 2018 and is growing at a CAGR of more than 5% a year. Within superfoods, adaptogenics are forecast to grow by around 8.55% per year.

A number of factors are driving this, including an ageing population, innovations in food, more awareness of what goes into foods and new medical discoveries. There are also growing concerns in core developed markets about problems with poor health, like obesity, and many consumers are drifting away from reliance on traditional solutions like pharmaceuticals, as these are failing to deliver the right results.

North America remains the biggest market for superfoods products like Rritual’s supplements. The COVID outbreak last year seems, if anything, to have further invigorated the market, with more awareness of physical health and diet’s role in boosting the immune system. While we are seeing an uptake in CBD use as a health supplement and stress management tool, adaptogens are also starting to be used as an alternative.

Many of the larger players in the space are actually based and operating in Asia, where there is a considerable and established market for adaptogen products. Outside Chinese society, it has traditionally remained much smaller in the West, indeed you could say only a smaller number of specialist distributors were active even a decade ago. Rritual is well-positioned to benefit from a growing appetite in 2021.

This is a sub-culture which is going mainstream.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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