Letter from the editor: May 2013

Letter from the editor: May 2013

Creating consumer-resonant products requires paying attention to the big picture and seeing where science, regulation, and consumer needs coincide.

“Where science leads, product development follows.” This telling quote is courtesy Jim Hamilton, who is DSM’s president of its nutritional products USA division.

Wise words indeed, but that’s not the whole story.

Todd RunestadFor example, vitamin D research exploded in 2008, showing benefit of the sunshine vitamin in everything from bone health to immunity, energy to cancer prevention. The IOM helped the cause (somewhat) by ratcheting up recommended intakes of vitamin D for bone health.

That one-two punch – research plus government pronouncement – was enough to get manufacturers and marketers to put vitamin D into bone health formulations.

Other, related recent research has called into question whether Americans are taking too much calcium because of cardiovascular concerns.

Watch as bone-health formulations cut back on calcium content and up vitamin D.

See how that works?

On another front, vitamin K2 is the latest ingredient showing benefit for the combination of bone health and cardiovascular health.

When I see that combination of health, I think postmenopausal women, because these are their big concerns (once they get past the hot flashes).

And then I go back to the literature that suggests the biggest indicator of osteoporosis for postmenopausal women is the bone mineral density that woman had – when she was an adolescent.

So I’m wondering why vitamin K2 – at doses that are only in the micrograms, which means ease of integration into formulations because of the small size there – is not put into every children’s health supplement.

That’s the X Factor in bridging nutrition science with product development.

Examples like these abound in all the work we do here. I take it as my professional mission to help the market understand the research and offer insights into applying that science to make great consumer-resonant products. Maybe it’s a marketing play. Perhaps it’s the right formulation – maybe the kitchen-sink approach is the wrong direction. Maybe it’s having a keener understanding of the regulations at play.

This issue is chock-full of the best insights the industry has on offer today, from botanicals to beverages, energy and performance to how to better play the contract manufacturer game.

Read it and reap!

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