According to founder Angus Brown, the formula was developed with the help of world-renowned neuroscientists and food technologists.
It contains four main ingredients: polyphenol- and flavonoid-rich Enzogenol (a pure New Zealand pine tree bark extract produced by Kiwi firm ENZO Nutraceuticals), antioxidant-rich New Zealand blackcurrant extract, and 100% pure L-theanine and green tea extract — both sourced from Japan.
Currently, the brand uses the formula in its four product formats: a bottled beverage, capsules, powder, and freeze-dried berries.
Science for sales
In order to provide robust scientific backing for its products, Ārepa partnered with the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, where the firm has undertaken two double-blind, crossover RCTs using its formula.
The positive results of the first study have been used to support its patent applications — the study showed that the formula could improve mental clarity. The second study is using EEG to scan the brain activity of participants who consume Ārepa's products, and the brand is hoping to show increased brain activity in those participants.
Brown told NutraIngredients-Asia that the first study had not yet been published as it was still being used as part of the firm's patent applications, while the results of the second study would be due in June this year.
The firm has also just announced an RCT at the University of Auckland's School of Sports Science and Nutrition, which will test the cognitive function of athletes who are physically fatigued and have consumed Ārepa.
Brown told NutraIngredients-Asia: "We specialise in natural and safe nootropic products that are backed by a lot of scientific research.
"Right now, there's a lot of interesting research emerging around the sports nutrition benefits of the NZ blackcurrant extract, and we are just at the tip of the iceberg of discovering its effects on cognitive performance.
"We are hiring a chief scientific officer this year to further investigate blackcurrant, pine bark and other New Zealand bio extracts that have cognitive- and mood-enhancing properties."
At the moment, Ārepa's products are sold in supermarkets, health food stores and pharmacies in New Zealand.
While the brand ships worldwide through its official website, it also aims to expand its physical presence outside of its home market.
Brown said: "We do sell a small amount of our products at a very high-end health food store in Hong Kong called Slowood, but at the moment, that's the only place in Asia people can find them. We are also speaking with distributors in Singapore and the Middle East.
"We've had interest from a number of different countries, and at present, our patent applications have been filed in some of those markets. We are open to discussion with distributors in various markets, but we're still working on the scientific aspect, and we prefer to let growth happen organically."
The brand has the exclusive right to use ENZO Nutraceuticals' pine bark extract Enzogenol in the nootropic space, as well as endorsement from one of New Zealand's largest blackcurrant growers.
"This way, we have physical integration and traceability of our two key New Zealand ingredients," Brown said.
He added that the formula's default powdered extract form allowed the firm to be able to use it in a number of different formats, opening up opportunities for portfolio diversification and NPD.
"Our goal is to become the world's most iconic brain health brand. We are in discussions with and open to new discussions with beverage and supplement MNCs that are interested in partnering with us for global expansion."