Nutritionals at the Tipping Point
It is not hard to find antioxidant compounds. Indeed, they are ubiquitous in plant and animal tissue since living organisms must fight to control the oxygenation process. Today, complex fruit extracts to "simple"? molecules such as coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone or CoQ10) find popularity in foods and supplements based, in part, on their ability to function as antioxidants. See "Antioxidant in New Product Launches: A Sampling"? chart.
For example, the antioxidant connection likely has helped to propel interest in green tea. SPINS Inc. reported strong sales increases of green tea and related green tea supplements. According to the information and service provider for the natural products industry, sales in natural channels (as noted by SPINSscan Natural) increased by 49% over the same 52-week period in the prior year (ending 12/3/05). During that same time frame, sales of green tea and related green tea supplements in mainstream circles (SPINSscan Conventional) increased 42%.
Tools used to drive the commercial success of an antioxidant product include the amount and quality of supporting clinical research; FDA-allowed claims and analytical method used to measure the degree of antioxidant activity (e.g., TEAC or ORAC), to name just a few.All this has made for an interesting mix of new product launches in 2005. They range from Nestle USA's Hot Chocolate Syrup, noting that it "contains natural antioxidants, 135mg per serving" on the back label, to Living Fuel's Rx CocoChia Ultimate Snack Fuel Bar in a Super Berry variety featuring a "super berry antioxidant complex." It is aggressively formulated with other ingredients such as brown rice bran, vitamin C and E, NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine), organic turmeric, quercetin, green tea catechins, grape seed skin and stem extract, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, beta carotene, glutathione and a variety of trace minerals.
All antioxidants do not fare equally well. Vitamin E took a hit when a meta-analysis study was published in the January 2005 issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine. It found that diet supplementation of 400IU per day or more of vitamin E may increase overall death rates among the various study participants (most already with chronic diseases).
Predicting ProbioticsNo products are of greater testimony to the eclectic nature of nutritionals than probiotics. What other ingredient is consumed alive with (ideally) the ability to continue reproducing in the digestive tract?
In January 2006, The Dannon Company launched Activia®, claiming it as the first and only probiotic yogurt clinically proven to "help naturally regulate the digestive system in two weeks, when eaten daily as part of a healthy and balanced diet." The brand's 2004 global sales were some 650 million euros (U.S. $760 million), with a 24% compounded annual growth rate between 2000 and 2004. The company's press release also estimates the probiotic yogurt and dairy drinks market at about $10 billion globally, and says Information Resources Inc. (IRI) figures show the small U.S. functional yogurt market is growing faster than 90% (52 weeks through 8/28/2005).
A July 2005 report "Probiotics: Ingredients, Supplements, Foods" by Norwalk, Conn.-based Business Communications Company Inc. (BCC) estimates the overall 2005 U.S. sales of probiotics to be $764 million and predicts a solid average annual growth rate of 7.1% to reach $1.1 billion in 2010. Of this, $291.4 million will be from probiotics used in manufacturing supplements. However, probiotic-containing foods such as yogurts, kefir and cultured drinks, with sales already at $498 million in 2005, are expected to reach $700 million by 2010.
One can only hope that quantity will become a greater marketing point. Research indicates that billions of live bacteria per gram are required for optimal benefits. Living Fuel Rx CocoChia's bar says it contains a "stabilized microencapsulated probiotic," which is one way to enhance viability of the organisms. Enzymatic Therapy's redesigned package of Acidophilus Pearls dietary supplement notes the presence of a "proprietary probiotic blend (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum)" with 1 billion CFU (colony-forming units, roughly equivalent to as many viable/living bacteria). Nature's Secret launched its Ultimate Probiotic 4-billion Dietary Supplement in the fall of 2005, noting that it uses a gel-barrier technology "to deliver more live organisms into the intestines than most other products."
Danone's press release about the new product noted it contained "billions"? of beneficial organisms.
A Few Good StudiesWith the controversy surrounding Cox-2 inhibitor drugs and market withdrawal of Vioxx in September 2004, there has been increased interest in natural alternatives to relieve joint pain. In November 2005, researchers announced the results of the NIH-sponsored Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). The study supports what many dog owners have long known, that these supplements work. Daily doses of 1,500mg of glucosamine hydrochloride with 1,200mg of chondroitin sulfate were shown to provide significant relief for patients with moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis (www.rheumatology.org/press/2005/clegg.asp).
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate already are one of the most successful supplements in the market. According to San Diego-based Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), 2004 sales of glucosamine/chondroitin-based products reached $734 million. Without FDA-notified, GRAS status for use in human foods, the ingredients turn up almost exclusively in pet foods and supplements. In supplements, some clearly do not state the dosage available, others do. For example, Arthritis Research's 2005 introduction of Flex-a-min notes three tablets should be taken daily, to deliver the same dosages of ingredients as used in the GAIT study. So does Nutrition Now's Glucosamine Chondroitin Controlled Delivery Dietary Supplement, also introduced mid-2005.
Carrying on about CarotenoidsCarotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin and other "colorful"? compounds are noted, in part, for their antioxidant capabilities. The ingredients rapidly are gaining in popularity "or not" depending on the specific ingredient in question. A June 2005 BCC Inc. report, "GA-110R The Global Market for Carotenoids,"? estimated the 2004 global market value of all commercially used carotenoids at $887 million, with an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.9% until 2009. Astaxanthin and canthaxanthin have the largest volume, due to their importance in feed (think salmon pigmentation). Canthaxanthin also is used to deepen the orange of egg yolks. The value of beta-carotene, an ingredient primarily used as a food colorant (secondarily as a dietary supplement), expects a similar value growth (from a current $242 million in 2004), due to price pressures from Asia.
The report notes lutein has experienced the greatest market success in recent years due to its connection with reducing age-related macular generation disease. Its market value, $139 million in 2004, is predicted to have an AAGR of 6.1% into 2009. Although it lumps lycopene in with other "minor" carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and annatto, the report comments lycopene recently has seen substantial growth. This carotenoid has had a series of good news lately.
In 2005, one supplier notified the FDA of its self-affirmed GRAS status for lycopene-rich tomato pulp powder, on the heels of a 2004 notification for tomato lycopene extract 6%, tomato lycopene extract 1.5% and crystallized tomato lycopene extract. In all cases, the FDA responded it had no questions (basically an approval), but suggested that approval as a colorant also was needed. A January 2006 press release announced the FDA once again approved use of the company's "natural tomato lycopene, as a food coloring "in foods and beverages."
In November 2005, the FDA said foods such as tomato sauce could make a qualified health claim as to their ability to reduce the risk of prostate, gastric, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Although the claim is said to center on lycopene, the FDA did not allow similar health claims for lycopene supplements.
In the last few months, a number of carotenoid-carrying products have entered the North American market. Campbell Soup launched its Campbell's Tomato Juice from Concentrate, the front label noting the product provides 20mg of lycopene antioxidant per serving. Walgreen's Theragran-M Premier and Theragran-M Premier 50 Plus Multivitamin-Multimineral touts that it is formulated with CoQ10, lutein and lycopene (the latter for adults aged 50 and over).
Crossing OverIngredients such as omega-3s, lutein and lycopene slowly are expanding from the dietary supplement into the food industry both as components naturally present in foods and as added ingredients, primarily in bar and beverage applications. Chromium picolinate and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), two highly successful dietary supplements, are looking to make a similar move into foods.
Chromium picolinate recently appeared as a key ingredient in Nature Made's Multi Diet Wise, described as a unique metabolism blend, and in GumRunners Nutra-Trim Weight Control gum. It also appears in Vitamin Shoppe's Nutrient Enhanced Spring Water. In the latter case, the sweetened 20oz beverage based on white grapefruit juice (and water) is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It is labeled as a dietary supplement, but makes no unusual positioning claim.
A multitude of studies support chromium picolinate's benefits in the areas of weight control and diabetes. One supplier applied to the FDA for a number of health claims in regards to chromium picolinate and insulin-resistance and diabetes. In August 2005, it was announced the FDA would allow a qualified health claim associating chromium picolinate with a reduced risk of insulin resistance and, possibly, type 2 diabetes.
Quantifying nutraceutical ingredient sales is challenging, and chromium is no exception. For one, it appears in different forms, and is sold in combination with different compounds. For example, data from SPINS Inc. indicates 2004 sales of chromium from both the natural (SPINSscan Natural) and mainstream (SPINSscan Conventional) channels at about $70 million (52 weeks ending 12/3/04). NBJ estimates the figure for 2004 sales is closer to $119 million.
Coenzyme Q10 is another "hot" ingredient. It is synthesized in the body and found in a variety of foods. The vitamin-like substance is an antioxidant and has been primarily studied for its benefits in heart disease and its ability to help slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. A search of PubMed's (www.pubmed.gov) database on published papers using the term "ubiquinone" pulls up well over 6,000 listings. While most are not related to human health, research on its benefits for a wide range of additional conditions can be found. It also is one of the most commercially successful nutraceutical ingredients. NBJ estimates 2004 CoQ10 sales at $283 million. Mintel's Global New Products Database shows CoQ10 being called out on the label of some of the trendier supplement products in 2005.
For example, Leiner Health Products introduced Wheaties Daily Performance Vitamin Pack, in which four pills: multivitamin, green tea, calcium and L-arginine & L-glutamine, are sealed in individual packets. Promoted as supplying nutrients to boost energy, it also contains CoQ10 to supply energy and cardiovascular support. And, in a bow to cosmeceuticals, Pharmavite introduced Olay Complete Woman's Multivitamin with Lutein and CoQ10, promoted as supporting good health and well-being.
While much of the food and supplement industries wallow in "me, too"? new products, efforts to differentiate oneself through emerging ingredients and principled products can reap rewards. NS
Sidebar: Going GlobalIn 2005, ACNielsen created a list of foods that promoted specific health benefits. It then asked over 21,100 Internet users in 38 countries which ones they regularly purchased. An executive report on the study notes that consumers in South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Mexico are the most convinced of the value of foods promoting health benefits. However, there are also "certain die-hards, especially in Europe, who have never bought foods of this kind or never heard of them."? Denmark had the highest number of people claiming never to have bought or heard of "soy milk"? (94%), "bread with supplements/vitamins" (83%) or "fruit juices with supplements/vitamins" (60%). In South Korea, 69% say they have never bought or heard of "cholesterol-reducing oils and fats," the highest percentage of any country.
ACNielsen notes that lack of awareness and availability are real barriers to the purchase of these types of products. Credibility also is a major issue, with one third of consumers in the four regions saying they did not believe the products offered additional health benefits as claimed. The distrust was greatest in Asia Pacific, Europe and in South Africa towards fruit juices, while North and Latin Americans questioned cholesterol-lowering oils/margarines.