‘We made the first female arousal drink’: How G Spot leans into functionality for women

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

The 'G' in G Spot could stand for Gillian, glow, or great taste, we were told. But its more obvious meaning 'plays on Gillian's personal brand'. Image credit: G Spot
The 'G' in G Spot could stand for Gillian, glow, or great taste, we were told. But its more obvious meaning 'plays on Gillian's personal brand'. Image credit: G Spot

Related tags Functional drinks botanicals adaptogens nootropics

Award winning actor Gillian Anderson is harnessing the power of botanicals to cater to an underserved market. We ask which ingredients align to which need state.

Actor Gillian Anderson has long been recognised a feminist role model, embracing and promoting self-empowerment in different aspects of her life.

A sex symbol from way back – Anderson was voted ‘sexiest woman’ by FHM Magazine readers in 1996 – she has also taken female empowerment to televisions screens via her sex therapist role in Netflix drama Sex Education.

It’s therefore unsurprising that Anderson’s foray into the world of food and beverage comes in the form of a brand she’s coined G Spot. The ‘G’ can stand for Gillian, glow, or great taste, explained G Spot COO Hannah Skingle, but also suggested its more obvious meaning ‘plays on Gillian’s personal brand’.

That the functional beverage brand is targeting women also aligns with her ethos, the COO told FoodNavigator. “She wanted to create something that was functional and healthy but delicious – and that doesn’t conform to ‘standard’ wellness drinks we see on the market.”

A drinks brand run by women for women

Compared to the men’s nutrition market, female-focused nutrition brands in food and drink are few and far between. R&D consultancy Sagentia Innovation has observed things moving in the right direction, but believes many needs for women remain underserved​.

Female-focused food and drink is ‘really lacking’ in the industry, observed Skingle. “That’s something that we collectively, as a team, wanted to tackle.”

The team in question includes founder Anderson, COO Skingle, and CEO Rebekah Hall, the latter of whom previously headed up functional drinks start-up Botanic Lab. “Rebecca and I met in the CBD industry a long time ago. We were two women working in the sector, and there wasn’t very many of us,” Skingle recalled. “So we were naturally drawn together.”

The duo jokes that Botanic Lab, which incorporated CBD and adaptogens in its range, was at the ‘bleeding edge’ of functional drinks. But with the sector fast evolving, G Spot is now at the cutting edge, we were told. “It’s becoming more popular and mainstream.”

The G Spot brand was developed to push back against the traditional wellness industry, which Anderson perceives to be all rules and restrictions.

gillian anderson
The award winning actress is pushing back against the traditional wellness industry. Image credit: G Spot

“She wanted to make sure her drinks had purpose, but weren’t confined within ‘wellness norms’, explained the COO. “A lot of wellness we talk about is about journalising daily, taking supplements, etc. [Anderson] wanted to create something that didn’t conform to that but was really functional and delicious.”

Pushing back against the 'wellness' industry

Anderson voiced her concerns about the traditional wellness sector on a recent podcast. “More than ever there is a wellness culture…that is potentially making people even sicker,” the actor told host Elizabeth Day. “For a very long time, as people have got more and more into exercise and eating well and micro[nutrients] and you name it…every stage along the way I have basically said f*ck you. Don’t tell me that I’m not ok.”

The beverage on everyone’s lips: Arouse

G Spot has launched a line of four lightly sparkling functional beverages, all of which contain a combination of adaptogens and nootropics. “They each have a real function and purpose within the consumer’s daily life,” explained Skingle, adding that the range is caffeine free, low sugar, ‘natural’ and vegan.

Of the four-strong range, one drink in particular has chins wagging: ‘Arouse’. “We built it as the first female arousal drink, which currently [remains] a category of one. I imagine it will grow with the success of this drink.”

Arouse is made with passionfruit and pineapple, alongside notes of dragon fruit and habanero chilli. Functional ingredients include:

  • Butterfly pea – also known by its scientific name Clitoria Ternatea, butterfly pea is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac for its association with increasing blood flow and sexual desire;
  • L-arginine – an amino acid associated with increased flow to sexual organs thought to improve libido;
  • L-citrulline – an amino acid often taken as a supplement due to its association with improved blood flow; and
  • Vitamin B6 – which is often consumed to help regulate hormonal activity and reduce fatigue.

It’s a ‘complex’ beverage explained Skingle. The ingredients were chosen in response to the question: How do we create blood flow that’s specifically for women and can enhance arousal? “And I can tell you that it’s a very effective drink.”

Indeed, one customer reviewed the drink by saying: “I drank it rather quickly and within ten minutes I was feeling tingly excited.”

What are adaptogens and nootropics?

Adaptogens are a class of plants that have long been used in traditional medicine. In essence, they are believed to help the body adapt to stress by restoring balance in the body. According to G Spot, adaptogens work holistically, supporting overall wellbeing and helping the body cope with various stressors – be their physical or mental. Some of the best-known examples include ashwagandha and ginseng.

Adaptogens are thought to interact with the sympathetic nervous system to help regulate the production and balance of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

Nootropics on the other hand, is broader in its definition – in that it can be natural or synthetic compounds, including drugs, supplements, herbs or other substances. The big different, however is that nootropics are used to improve cognitive functional, ranging from memory to creativity or motivation. 

From replacing wine to uplifting mood: How G Spot serves up functionality

The ‘Lift’ beverage, made with red berries, apples, pomegranate, peppercorn and malt, aims to serve as an ‘uplifter’ to replace the daily coffee. “It’s a daily pick-you-up or could be used before sport,” explained Skingle. Lift functional ingredients include:

  • Bacoba – associated with memory, concentration, and reducing anxiety;
  • Ribose – used to provide energy and reduce fatigue;
  • Maca – thought to elevate mode, reduce anxiety and boost energy; and
  • Cordyceps – a mushroom often used to increase energy and performance.

‘Protect’ is made with lemon, ginger, turmeric, and meadowsweet. This drink is for the ‘everyday health seeker’, explained the COO. The product also contains chaga mushroom, which is ‘interesting’ to work with because of its richness in flavour. “You have to balance it quite well in order to use it within a functional drink,” she revealed. “But I think we’ve nailed it.” Functional ingredients in Protect include:

  • Ginger – used in many cultures for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as its potential to improve digestion;
  • Peppercorn – which contains the active ingredient piperine, used to boost the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric;
  • Turmeric – which contains curcumin, revered for its potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; and
  • Chaga – thought to improve immunity.

The final drink in G Spot’s lineup is ‘Soothe’, flavoured with apples, safe and cornflower. This drink works well as a ‘wine replacement’ drink, we were told, to help ‘wind down’ at the end of the day. “The key ingredient is magnesium, which has been huge in sleep lately.” Functional ingredients in Soothe include:

  • Magnesium – a mineral often associated with sleep and mood;
  • Reishi – a mushroom traditionally associated with mood and stress reduction;
  • Zinc – an essential mineral known to support metabolic function and the immune system; and
  • Theanine – an amino acid predominantly associated with anxiety and stress relief.

Marketing G Spot to its target consumers

G Spot’s target consumers are women aged around 28 years and above. Although this has been the brand’s core consumer to date, sales data also suggests a strong consumer base from the LGBTQ+ community.

G Spot’s consumers may also be slightly more affluent, with stockists including the more premium Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason. While there is an ‘element of sophistication’ to the drinks, Skingle stressed G Spot’s ambition is to cater for the masses.

In marketing the brand, G Spot is covering the ‘classic’ channels, but its social media presence has seen the most success so far. Having first launched just nine months ago, the company has built a following of hundreds of thousands of followers, with videos that attract more than five million views.

drinks collection
Of the four-strong range, one drink in particular has chins wagging. Image credit: G Spot

The hope is that as the G Spot brand grows, so too does the female-focused food and drink segment. It’s important to the G Spot team that others jump on board, said the COO, particularly when it comes to ‘deliciousness’. Some health drinks are hard to consume, you almost have to force them down, she continued, because you think it’s good for you.

“The trend is definitely here to stay because if something is delicious but also good for you, people want to drink more of it, and that’s what we’re finding.”

G Spot is currently selling in the UK with plans to expand its reach by the end of the year

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