Brainiac Foods Review: Gimmick or Game Changer?

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Written by Tim Kalantjakos
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Dr. Jennifer Hughes, MD
Medical Reviewer

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Our Rating: A-

Clean, science-backed ingredient lists and excellent taste help Brainiac stand out as an innovator in brain-boosting snack foods. A few transparency and customer service points could be tightened up. Overall rating: A-.

We determined this rating by evaluating the following factors:

  • Quality
    i
    QualityA-
    Ingredient quality, cleanliness, fun form factors, and more make a strong argument for Brainiac. Our sole gripe in the quality department is room for improvement in supply chain/manufacturing oversight.
A-
  • Transparency
    i
    TransparencyB+
    The Brainiac website is loaded with practical, well-written info on the products and the brand, but it's much harder to find where the ingredients are sourced from.
B+
  • Website Experience
    i
    Website ExperienceA
    From skimming their learning resources to (secret) shopping, our experience on the well-designed Brainiac site was both smooth and engaging.
A
  • Customer Service
    i
    Customer ServiceA-
    Accommodating shipping and refund policies and a prompt, helpful response from customer support left us with a definitively positive impression of Brainiac's customer service. We only docked points for a lack of phone and/or messaging support channels (email only).
A-
  • Value
    i
    ValueB+
    As expected, Brainiac charges a premium on all their products, but the taste, unique formats (omega-3 applesauce, nut butter, etc.), and overall quality help to justify the bump.
B+
  • Brand Value
    i
    Brand ValueA-
    For their efforts in b ringing awareness to key nutritional gaps among babies and kids, donations to the hungry, and just the unique utility of the products themselves, Brainiac earns an A- for brand value.
A-
Our Editorial Policy

Welcome to our Brainiac Review!

Focused on brain-boosting snacks and vitamins for both kids and adults, Brainiac works within a still-underserved but growing area of interest within the world of nutrition.

It’s the hope of Brainiac that people will begin to view brain health (in particular, nutritional health) as being on par with maintaining healthy muscles and bones.

In service of this mission, they created a suite of brain-health-savvy apple sauces, nut butters, gummy supplements, and more, which our team personally tested.

We also interviewed Chief Commercial Officer Tina White, reviewed the website, and much more, landing on an overall rating of A- for Brainiac.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll cover everything from how Brainiac’s products taste to their manufacturing standards and certifications.

Brainiac Applesauce
Brainiac Applesauce
  • Description

    Fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, choline, and more, this squeezable applesauce pouch was unanimously well-received among our testers

  • Ingredients

    Apples, Apple Puree Concentrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin Cs), Omega-3 DHA/EPA (Fish Oil), Natural Flavors, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Brainiac Foods Pros and Cons

  • Pros
  • Science-backed brain health formulations
  • Available in familiar, great-tasting varieties (applesauce, etc.)
  • Clean, sometimes organic ingredients
  • Cons
  • Limited customer service department
  • Premium price

How Brainiac Was Born

In our conversation with Brainiac Chief Commercial Officer Tina White, we learned that the inspiration for Brainiac came from Founder Jonathan Wolfson’s experiences with helping his third child overcome failure to thrive.

Consulting with expert after expert to help his child, Wolfson identified and internalized a very clear and consistent theme among their recommendations: nutrition is absolutely key for brain development and maintenance.

In particular, nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and choline aren’t only vital to the developing brain, but the fully developed one as well.

This is why the vast majority of infant formula products—which the Brainiac founder used to help his child thrive—are fortified with these and other key brain-health nutrients. 

Formula in hand, Jonathan Wolfson was equipped to help his son catch up developmentally, but a question still lingered in light of what he had learned: are the rest of my kids (not on formula) getting enough of these brain-supporting nutrients? Are we adults getting enough?

Teaming up with co-founder Mark Brooks (a fellow dad of three), Wolfson went to work identifying the most crucial brain-health nutrients and comparing their recommended intake values to what the average American family consumes—guess who failed the test? Just about all of us.

It was in this glaring and tragically overlooked nutritional gap where Brainiac and company decided to plant their flag. In 2019, the two founders combined their knowledge and experience in better-for-you consumer products to create Brainiac, with a focus on Omega-3s from the start.

Today, they have applesauce pouches, nut butter, fruit and veggie purees, and vitamins.

Our Brainiac Foods Review

We use the following criteria when reviewing brands (Brainiac’s scores included):

  • Quality (A-)
  • Transparency (B+)
  • Website Experience (A)
  • Customer Service (A-)
  • Value (B+)
  • Brand Value (A-)

Brainiac received an overall rating of A- in our review. We’ll start the same place we always do—with quality.

Quality

Summary:

Grade: A-

Ingredient quality, cleanliness, fun form factors, and more make a strong argument for Brainiac. Our sole gripe in the quality department is room for improvement in supply chain/manufacturing oversight.

Considering we’re working with several formats—applesauce, almond butter, gummies, etc.—packaging style varies across the Brainiac collection.

The brain butters come in simple packets that are notched at the top for easy tearing, and the applesauce pouches have a built-in spout with a threaded (and initially sealed) lid. 

We also appreciate how the BrainPack Daily Gummies come with a childproof (push and twist) lid. 

Braniac BrainPack

As for labeling, the applesauces have a QR code that links to additional product info, and the gummies list key functional targets like memory, clarity, vision, and more.

Overall, the packaging was durable, functional, and informative across the board.

When it comes to what’s actually inside, the ingredient quality is above average, but with a little room for improvement

The almond butters contain cane sugar and honey (3-4g added sugars per unit), and the gummies are definitely cleaner than average when it comes to preservatives. It’s also important to note that the gummies are considerably less sugary (2g added sugar per 3 gummies) than the average.

Supplement Facts and Ingredients for Brainiac’s BrainPack Daily Kids’ Gummies
Supplement Facts and Ingredients for Brainiac’s BrainPack Daily Kids’ Gummies

Brain-boosting omega-3 fats (DHA, EPA, and ALA), choline, lutein, and letter vitamins—especially vitamins B and C—consistently appear throughout all product types, which adds substance to the label claims.

Brainiac calls their particular blend of these nutrients BrainPack®, a blend they claim to be scientifically proven for improving brain health.

Brainiac products are non-GMO, certified Kosher, and in some cases, USDA Organic. On a broader note, Brainiac also holds B Corp certification.

Finally, on the sourcing and manufacturing end, Brainiac appears to source all their non-GMO, USP-verified ingredients from North America

The omega-3 fatty acids come from flaxseed, algae, and encapsulated fish oil. 

According to Tina, Brainiac works with the best co-packers and ingredient suppliers, and each product line requires ground-up formulation for the unique challenges they present. 

“It’s really difficult to get omega-3s into a product without it tasting and smelling like fish,” Tina explained, but having tried the products ourselves, we can confirm there’s indeed nothing fishy about them.
Taking all of this into account, Brainiac receives an A- for overall quality.

Brainiac Product Catalog

As mentioned, Brainiac offers four product types: Applesauce, Fruit & Veggie Squeezies, Nut Butters, and Vitamins.

The Nut Butters and Vitamins are geared towards adults as well as kids, but if you really want to, then hey—applesauce is always good.

Applesauce

Their first official product, applesauce is Brainiac’s most well-established product line. 
Available flavors include Apple, Cinnamon, and Strawberry, and like Brainiac’s other products, they come with the BrainPack® blend—omega-3 DHA/EPA and choline.

Brainiac Applesauce
Brainiac Applesauce
  • Description

    Fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, choline, and more, this squeezable applesauce pouch was unanimously well-received among our testers

  • Ingredients

    Apples, Apple Puree Concentrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin Cs), Omega-3 DHA/EPA (Fish Oil), Natural Flavors, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Fruit & Veggie Squeezies

Not far off from the applesauce line in popularity or formulation are the Fruit & Veggie Squeezies, an all-organic selection of fruit and vegetable purees available in the following flavors:

In addition to non-GMO, USDA Organic ingredients, Brainiac adds zero sugar, and these pouches have industry-leading concentrations of omega-3s and choline.

Little Brainiac pouches are also a Clean Label Purity Award recipient, meaning they’ve fulfilled stringent standards of purity and safety (passing tests for heavy metals, pesticides, etc.), landing in the top third of the category as far as cleanliness goes.

Apple Pumpkin Cinnamon Squeezie
Apple Pumpkin Cinnamon Squeezie
  • Description

    This festively flavored puree contains the same blend of brain-boosting ingredients as the applesauce line, and was equally enjoyed by our fun-sized testers

  • Ingredients

    Organic Apples, Organic Pumpkin, Organic Carrots, Organic Bananas, BrainPack (Omega-3 DHA & EPA [Fish Oil], Choline Chloride, Lutein, Mixed Tocopherols [Vitamin E]), Organic Natural Flavors, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate for freshness, Cinnamon, Citric Acid and/or Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Nut Butters

We’re obviously biased, not being four years old, but the Nut Butters take our vote over the other product lines for best taste. 

These single-use packets pack a healthy shot of choline, omega-3, and protein and are available in the following flavors:

They’re plenty small enough to slip into even a small purse and are free of GMOs like the rest of the catalog.

Chocolate Almond Brain Butter
Chocolate Almond Brain Butter
  • Description

    Each single-use sachet of this tasty nut butter (our personal favorite) delivers omega-3, choline, and 6 grams of protein

  • Ingredients

    Roasted Almonds, Cane Sugar, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, RSPO-Certified Palm Oil, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Choline (Non-GMO Canola Lecithin), Omega-3 DHA (Algal Oil), Omega-3 ALA (Flax Oil), Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract

Vitamins

Brainiac keeps it straightforward in the gummy vitamin category, offering one product for kids and one for adults.

The formulations very much follow the same pattern, with the main difference being per-gummy quantities of most of the main nutrients like DHA, EPA, and choline.

BrainPack Daily Adults
BrainPack Daily Adults
  • Description

    They may not stand out as much as the rest of the Brainiac selection flavor-wise, but these gummy vitamins are backed by the same science-supported range of nutrients.

  • Other Ingredients

    Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Water, Gelatin, Potato Starch, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Lactic Acid, Tomato Lycopene Extract, Tartaric Acid

Transparency

Summary:

Grade: B+

The Brainiac website is loaded with practical, well-written info on the products and the brand, but it’s much harder to find where the ingredients are sourced from.

Between the products themselves and the Brainiac site, customers have easy access to an ample product info knowledge base that strikes a healthy balance between hyper-technical jargon and generically promotional language.

The Apple Sauce product page, for example, displays several sections providing in-depth information on the brand, entitled as follows:

“About this product”—describes omega-3, choline, and vitamin C content

“Extraordinary Applesauce with a Brain-Building Twist”—explains the goal of the product and how it was developed.

“Fact: Kids’ Brains Never Stop Developing”—Dispels the first 1000 days concept, the prevalence of omega-3 deficiency among kids, and the importance of getting these nutrients well after childhood.

“What Every Growing Brain Needs, But Can’t Make”—Explains the role that omega-3s, choline, and vitamin C have in brain development, and why we need to find these nutrients in food.

“About this product”—describes omega-3, choline, and vitamin C content

There are a couple more sections, but you get the point. 

As for the backstory of the brand itself, Brainiac is similarly transparent, providing a summary of the founding story, their core philosophy and values, headshots and short introductions to their Science & Nutrition advisors, and more on their about page

Key insights on the manufacturing and supply chain side, however, are sorely lacking.

There are some snippets throughout the FAQ page, which is better than nothing, but they don’t paint anywhere near a complete picture of where the products come from and how they’re manufactured.

On the topic of more logistical items, Brainiac’s shipping and refund policies are made easily accessible via a link in the site footer, and they’re on a dedicated page—you don’t have to scroll forever to find them buried between clauses on a terms page. 

Overall, Brainiac makes a very strong showing for customer-facing items when it comes to transparency, but a bit more exposition on the manufacturing side would really round out their score. For now, it’s a B+ for transparency.

Website Experience

Summary:

Grade: A

From skimming their learning resources to (secret) shopping, our experience on the well-designed Brainiac site was both smooth and engaging.

The Brainiac site is well-designed, highly informative, and easy to use.

If you’re looking to go straight to shopping, simply hover over or tap on the shop tab from the homepage to reveal a window containing all four of their product categories: Applesauce, Fruit & Veggie Squeezies, Nut Butters, and Vitamins

Website Experience

Jump into a category with a single click/tap, or shop all if you’re not set on a product type yet.

Once in a category, you’ll find the standard e-commerce setup—rows of product images with prices and a filter on the left-hand side.

You can either click “add to cart” straight from the category page or click on the product image to be directed to the product page. 

When you do add something to cart, a pane pops in from the right side of the screen showing the updated contents of your cart, allowing you to either checkout straightaway or continue shopping. 

It also displays your progress towards the free shipping minimum.

The checkout process is equally smooth and intuitive, and the site looks and runs just as well on mobile devices as on desktop.

If you prefer to do a little extra digging before committing to a purchase, the Why Brain Food page provides an excellent introduction to the importance of DHA, choline, lutein, and other ingredients Brainiac uses for brain health and development.

Why Brain Food page provides an excellent introduction to the importance of DHA, choline, lutein, and other ingredients Brainiac uses for brain health and development.

The page even breaks the benefits down by functional target, offering in-depth explanations on how these brain-building nutrients enhance development and learning, attention and focus, mood, and more.

Overall, we were duly impressed with the aesthetic, functionality, and content of the Brainiac site, which earns a grade of A in website experience.

Customer Service

Summary:

Grade: A-

Accommodating shipping and refund policies and a prompt, helpful response from customer support left us with a definitively positive impression of Brainiac’s customer service. We only docked points for a lack of phone and/or messaging support channels (email only).

We award credit in this category for the breadth of available support services, the quality and timeliness of the responses we receive, and how accommodating key policies are (shipping, refund, etc.).

Brainiac offers email-only customer service. This definitely earns a ding, the extent of which depends on how quick and helpful the response is.

On that note, we received a personalized and very in-depth (multiple paragraph) response to our test question within a single business day, which helped Brainiac recoup a solid chunk of the points they lost for not having a faster option.

As for shipping and refund policies, Brainiac offers free shipping on purchases of $30 or more, which is a very reasonable cut-off that dips lower than the majority of brands we review.

Otherwise, standard shipping is an equally reasonable $3.99, and as for refunds, they maintain what is essentially a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Given the nature of the products, they don’t accept returns, but they will “issue a credit if your product is damaged or you’re not 100% satisfied,” per the site copy, so long as you can provide the order number, a description of the issue, and other details. 

All considered, Brainiac performs very well across all points, with the one exception, earning an A- for customer service.

Value

Summary:

Grade: B+

As expected, Brainiac charges a premium on all their products, but the taste, unique formats (omega-3 applesauce, nut butter, etc.), and overall quality help to justify the bump.

Given that there isn’t exactly a booming market for omega-3-fortified applesauce, we chose the BrainPack Daily Kids’ Gummies from Brainiac as our price comparison point.

BrainPack Daily Kids’ Gummies

Available in a 30-serving tub (90 gummies, 3 gummies per serving) for $25, Brainiac’s gummies reduce to $0.83/serving.

Here’s how other brands “stack up” (get it?), keeping in mind no two ingredient lists are the same:

This small snippet covers about 90% of the price-quality spectrum, with most of the cheaper options offering fewer high-quality omega-3s and in smaller concentrations.

Conversely, Feel Great Vitamin Co gummies had omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, but at $1.50/serving, they’re definitely pricing themself out of contention for parents on tight budgets.

While we don’t feel the same about the Brainiac gummy vitamins, the premium is clearly visible as competitors of similar quality hover closer to the $0.50-60/serving range.

Giving Brainiac a slight bump in value for the unique form factors they offer outside of the gummies, we settled on a B+ for overall value.

Brand Value

Summary:

Grade: A-

For their efforts in b ringing awareness to key nutritional gaps among babies and kids, donations to the hungry, and just the unique utility of the products themselves, Brainiac earns an A- for brand value.

Though we’re still allergic to fluffy promo-speak, we keep an open mind when it comes to the many ways in which brands can make a positive impact on their industry and/or outside communities.

Starting with the most obvious, Brainiac has snuck a generous amount of often overlooked brain-boosting nutrients into great-tasting, convenient, and familiar products that kids and adults actually like.

As parents, we don’t underestimate the importance of healthy foods that kids will actually eat and enjoy on a daily basis.

Brainiac also partners with Healthy America

Brainiac also partners with Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization that improves access to healthy food for all people.

This value set is evident in their B Corp certification as well, which keeps brands accountable not just environmentally, but socially as well (including their own employees).

Their closer partnership with science and nutrition advisors, including pediatricians, neurologists, and other experts, signals a level of know-how and authority over the formulations that goes a long way with discerning parents.

Brainiac isn’t involved in any major sustainability initiatives that we learned of, but they do partner with How2Recycle, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions.

Finally, we can’t discount the value of their messaging, which consistently echoes the importance of bridging the brain nutrition gap, a claim they substantiate by citing actual report data. 

Whether or not any given site visitor becomes a customer, this is a very needed education piece that can serve parents well throughout their child’s development.

Wrapping up our review, we came away with the impression that Brainiac really does care about elevating the state of public nutrition, making a positive impact on families looking to bridge nutritional gaps in practical and enjoyable ways.
Taking strengths and areas for improvement into account, we land on an A- for brand value.

Our Experience with Brainiac Foods

We went a little crazy with the sampling this time (thanks Brainiac!), trying several varieties from all four product types, including the following:

Braniac Products

We delegated sampling of the applesauces and “squeezies” to our unpaid, but highly willing child volunteers (two-year-old, four-year-old), both of whom enjoyed all four varieties of applesauce and squeezies they tried without a single complaint.

For added context, our older tester is on the pickier side, but not so in the case of Brainiac’s products, all of which were finished to the last drop.

The brain butters were equally well-received among our review team, with no obvious signs of being fortified with anything “healthy tasting.” 

Braniac Brain Butter - Honey Almond and Chocolate Almond

It was just delicious almond butter—especially the chocolate. They were on the thicker and grainier side, FYI, but we kept them in the fridge. 

The single-use pouches were easy to use, though it would be nice for spreading purposes to have a tub.

Finally, the gummy vitamins were consistent with most other cleaner varieties we’ve tried in terms of taste. They were moderately sweet, but without that syrupy taste. The texture was slightly on the firmer side, but not problematically so.

Braniac BrainPack

Overall, both our adult and child testers had an overwhelmingly positive experience with Brainiac products, none of which were left halfway finished.

Brainiac FAQs

Who is the CEO of Brainiac Foods?

Jonathan Wolfson and Mark Brooks are co-founders and co-CEOs of Brainiac Foods.

Where is Brainiac Foods Headquartered?

Brainiac is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Is Brainiac Applesauce Good for Babies?

With non-GMO ingredients and no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or harmful preservatives, Brainiac applesauce is an excellent choice of snack for babies, toddlers, and kids. As this product is not allergen-free, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns relating to a potential allergic reaction. 

What is Brain Butter?

Brain Butters refer to the line of Brainiac almond butters made with their BrainPack® blend. They’re made with omega-3s and choline, and are available in the following flavors: Chocolate Almond, Honey Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Honey Peanut Butter.

Final Thoughts

Brainiac uses a proprietary blend of brain-boosting omega-3 acids, choline, and more to provide kids and adults with scientifically supported snacks.

Between the Brainiac website and product packaging, it’s easy to gain a solid knowledge base relating to the products, the brand itself, and the science supporting the formulations.

Browsing and shopping products is easy online, and though the customer service department is limited, we received a very helpful and timely response.

Brainiac products come with a premium, but a restrained one, and can fit into most budgets if you use them to replace your existing snacks.

The applesauces, nut butters, and squeezers all tested well with our team, including our very young (and slightly picky) volunteers.

Brainiac receives an overall rating of A- from our team. We recommend Brainiac products to parents looking for well-formulated and easy-to-use snacks for themselves or their children



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