In our series on the ingredients that made the finalist list for this year's NutrAward, Functional Ingredients sought out John Alkyre, president of AHD International. In addition to being a NutrAward finalist, AHD was recognized by Dun and Bradstreet's Entrepreneur magazine as one of its fastest-growing companies in 2003. Since then, the growth has been on a steady incline.
Q: Weight-loss supplements can run the gambit from 'lose 10 pounds in 10?days,' to others with a bulk of science and credibility behind them, such?as LuraLean. How has your company addressed the complexity of finding?stand-out ingredients among less-plausible weight-loss merchandise?
JA: Human clinical studies are the key. AHD has conducted multiple clinical studies to document LuraLean's effectiveness. In a market saturated with quick-scheme weight-loss promises that prey on consumer vulnerability, clinical studies are the only real way to prove a product's effectiveness to food, beverage and supplements manufacturers, as well as consumers who have more access than ever when it comes to researching weight-loss ingredients.
LuraLean has had excellent results, averaging a loss of 4-5 pounds per month with no change in diet or exercise, and making it by far one of the most effective supplements on the market. There have been more than 60 clinical studies conducted on LuraLean over the past 25 years, and this backlog of information is one of the reasons we have trademarked the ingredient: to let consumers know they are getting the real product used in those human clinical studies — and 14 safety trials, ensuring that it's a sound weight-loss product for both children and adults.
Q: AHD has experienced tremendous growth over the years,?from the early years of two ingredients (SAMe and chondroitin) and now?to a global banquet of ingredients not limited to Luravida and?Bellalean. To what do you owe AHD's steep growth and success?
JA: We have shifted course to branding ingredients and limiting the number of products we sell, thereby focusing our efforts on promoting AHD's brands. We are also putting more focus on developing a range of applications for our popular ingredients such as LuraLean, which is now available in several grades for a wide range of finished products including baked goods, soups, low and high viscosity beverages, and frozen dairy products, as well as traditional supplement formulations. Our exclusive partnerships with The Chia Company to distribute a line of chia-based products, as well as RV Industries for coconut oil and virgin coconut oil, represent our movement toward forming stronger alliances with high-quality suppliers that have long histories and extensive expertise cultivating those ingredients.