Along with the conflict in the Middle East, another age-old, hard-fought battle remains: getting kids to eat their broccoli. Making sure children obtain the vitamins and minerals they need through their diet is a Sisyphean task. Fortunately, kid-friendly advances in delivery systems such as chewables, gummies, liquids and soluble powders have made life both a little easier for parents … and profitable for manufacturers.
To find out what’s in store for the market’s youngest consumers (and the parents who make their purchases), we spoke with Eric Anderson, global vice president, sales and marketing, NattoPharma, ASA, with headquarters in Oslo Norway and Metuchen, New Jersey, about vitamins and Velveeta.
Fi: What are your projections for growth in the children’s health category for the coming year?
EA: Seriously – 1,000 percent! Sales of kids’ supplements today are pretty much nonexistent; sales are smaller, much smaller than they should be. It is very unfortunate, because we now know that vitamin K2 is required to build healthy bones. We have a study done on children showing that 45mcg of K2 a day significantly improves the activation of osteocalcin, the protein required to put calcium into bones. What is also extraordinary – and alarming – is that we also know from our research at the University of Maastricht that children can demonstrate arterial calcification as young as four or five years of age. Vitamin K2 is a vitamin – not an herb or a nutraceutical. It is essential for the metabolic function of the body. It is required to build healthy bones and maintain healthy arteries in children. Therefore, with all this compelling data available today, it is beyond my comprehension that children’s multivitamins do not contain either vitamin K1 (for healthy blood clotting) or vitamin K2. How can we not supplement children with a
vitamin shown to help optimize bone and heart health?
What’s worse is what the food industry has done – systematically removing the best source of vitamin K2 in the diet. Vitamin K2 is found abundantly in fermented cheese. The food industry is feeding our kids “cheeze,” meaning processed singles, squeezable American-style cheese, and macaroni and “cheese” powder.
Fi: What are the biggest threats to the market growing like a well-supplemented two-year-old?
EA: Ignorance. The medical community and U.S. consumers simply are not yet fully aware of the benefits of vitamin K2, but we are steadfastly working on this with our brand-marketing partners and the media. It is incumbent upon the natural-products industry to let consumers know that they are likely functionally deficient in an essential vitamin, and that they can begin to protect heart and bone health the day they begin taking vitamin K2.
Fi: We’ve got gummies, pixie sticks and cartoon heroes pushing vitamins. What do you see as the next opportunity in the children’s supplement market?
EA: My personal goal is to see adequate inclusion of vitamin K2 in children’s multivitamins. We also want to see the makers of the processed-cheese products incorporate functional doses of K2 in American singles, mac & cheeses, and squeezable cheese-flavored products. We do see emerging opportunities in dairy products and juices as well.
& ESM Technologies
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