Innovation in product development drives the health-and-wellness world

Innovation in product development drives the health-and-wellness world

Think about how different your professional world was five years ago. I’m not talking about the pre-Facebook one, either. Remember the world before vitamin D took off? Before protein found a new home in sports nutrition beverages? Before krill rose from the deep to take on fish oils? Heck, when fish oils and flax were the only omega-3s anyone was talking about! How about when omega-3s were referred to as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)—not quite the sexy “omega-3” term we now use. Today we have algae, squid, biotech and more omega-3s to offer consumers than ever.

Game-changing innovations are a common occurrence in the health-and-wellness world. Consumer-driven transparency is keeping companies on their toes. This of course was the driver behind the organic regulations of a decade ago. It is part and parcel of the Fair Trade movement. And it is what’s driving today’s GMO labeling initiatives—California may have voted down GMO labeling this time, but nobody expects biotech companies to keep that genie in the bottle for very much longer.

I enjoy watching entrepreneurial types take on companies like Living Essentials and its 5-Hour Energy. Shots by definition are a tough swallow, and the few I’ve sampled that actually taste halfway decent don’t actually work. New to the market is the pink lemonade flavored 5-Hour Energy. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s a fair bet the sweet and tart of the pink lemonade will mask the inherent horrid bitterness of the shot.

Which is why stevia tastes better in citrus beverages. Which is why monk fruit will now give stevia a run for its money on the natural sweetener front. Which is why blends might be best of all. Which demonstrates the vacuity of expecting a silver bullet. For anything. Ever.

Even on the research front, nutrition science is creating new categories for product exploitation. Example: The newest ingredient for the fledgling cognitive-health category is lutein. Traditionally seen as an eye-health carotenoid, lutein accumulates in the brain just as easily as the retina. Emerging evidence indicates about 6 mg/day may delay the onset of cognitive decline.

What I’m getting at is this roller-coaster of a ride—research giving, media taking, consumers revealing, regulators restricting—is what wakes me up in the morning and keeps me up at night. I guess excitement and stress are different sides of the same coin. These are life-affirming experiences, and we should all be grateful we work in a business that celebrates innovative thinking in pursuit of greater health.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.