Health states gain ground in marketplace

The choice for suppliers marketing ingredients is whether to choose an 'ingredient-based' strategy or a 'condition-specific' one. Increasingly, the trend is toward individual health conditions — reflected both in manufacturers' product mix as well as the store-shelf layout in retail outlets.

From weightloss, heart health and joint care down to sexual health and insomnia, the top 14 health conditions represent 84 per cent of US supplements sales, according to an analysis by Nutrition Business Journal.

"Condition-specific formulas are a gold mine for dietary supplements," says Matt Phillips, president and COO of Cyvex Nutrition. "They easily translate the combination of nutraceuticals for a specific health concern and area — and consumers instantly understand and are drawn to those they feel they need or their doctors may recommend."

They also help manufacturers sift through the range of ingredients available for a potential formulation. "It does help formulators understand what specific ingredients are targeted to, especially when they don't recognize the ingredient," says Larry Kolb, president of US operations for TSI Health Sciences.

Condition Specific Guide: A complete resource to ingredients for health.

One of the top trends of the year is the move to market condition-specific nutritional products. An ageing consumer base is gravitating to the concept in an effort to stave off the range of degenerative diseases, and manufacturers are responding to this specialised nutrition paradigm. Suppliers play a key role in the value chain by developing and delivering functional ingredients that target these specific consumer concerns. The whole story — and exclusive Fi directory listing — provides manufacturers with a road map for the terrain ahead.

Anti-Ageing Immunity
Antioxidants/Wellness Joint health
Cardiovascular health Men's health
Cognitive health Sports
Diabetes Weight management
Digestive health Women's health
Other categories

Four strategies encompass the business strategies of companies playing in this field.

Same ingredient, different conditions: Norwegian fish-oil supplier EPAX tweaks the ratio of EPA to DHA and directs each equation at seven different health conditions. "Science has shown that EPA and DHA have different roles in the body," says sales manager Baldur Hjaltason. "EPA has anti-inflammatory effects while DHA is more like a building block that plays an important role in early stages of life. Therefore, our product range was basically based on science, although production technology plays some part. It can make it difficult to explain that the same product can have so many different biological actions."

A clever marketing tagline helped PL Thomas with its multi-functional (bone and cardio) MenaQ7 ingredient, which "helps keep calcium in your bones and out of your arteries."

Multi-condition ingredient: When a product has a wide variety of uses but no real focus, it often makes it difficult to target a certain group of consumers. "In general, people like to think of an ingredient as being helpful for one condition or thing," says Frank Assumma, marketing director for Natural Health Science, exclusive North American supplier of Pycnogenol, the French maritime pine-bark extract, for which published studies have demonstrated efficacy in such seemingly diverse areas as cardiovascular, cognitive, dermatology, diabetes, joint, fertility, menstrual and vein health. In many of these cases, the common denominator is inflammation and circulation. "While this can be challenging to communicate to consumers, it can reap great benefits in the future by better explaining the way in which a powerful ingredient like Pycnogenol works."

Go deep or go home: Source One Global Partners is an example of a company going all out in one sector, in this case, cardio health. The company offers omega-3s, sterols, vitamin E, co-Q10 and the patented Sytrinol for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Naming rights: What colour do you think a bluebird is? Is the Grand Canyon a big hole, or what? Guess what health concern an ingredient like horny goat weed is used for? How about feverfew? When generic names don't fit, branded-ingredient names come into play. Terry Labs has an ingredient called Glysync — how hard is it to figure out that it addresses glycaemic management?

Finally, it's important to note that having a condition-specific ingredient is not an end all and be all. "Having a product designed for a specific condition is easy for consumers to understand," says Scott Daniel, marketing manager at National Enzyme. "But having a product designed for a specific condition that is backed by a marketing campaign and research — that is a hard-to-beat combination."

Condition-specific supplements ($/mil)

2005

2006

2006 growth

% of total in 2006

Sports/Energy/Weightloss

5,831

5,918

1.5%

26.4%

General health

4,675

4,812

2.9%

21.4%

Cold/Flu-immunity

1,390

1,500

7.9%

6.7%

Joint health

1,226

1,257

2.5%

5.6%

Heart health

1,016

1,153

13.5%

5.1%

Anti-cancer

1,087

1,150

5.8%

5.1%

Bone health

986

998

0.2%

4.4%

Gastrointestinal health

707

819

15.7%

3.6%

Diabetes

532

566

6.3%

2.5%

Sexual health

362

398

9.7%

1.8%

Brain/Mental health

265

311

17.5%

1.4%

Menopause

317

291

-8.1%

1.3%

Mood

210

219

4.2%

1.0%

Insomnia

137

148

8.4%

0.7%

Sum of top 14 conditions

18,741

19,540

4.2

87.0

Others

2,574

2,930

13.9

13.0

Total supplements

21.315

22,470

5.4

100.0


Health claims, and their lesser stepsister, qualified health claims, lend the weight of government imprimatur to an ingredient. "This avenue is not generally pursued because of the scientific evidence required," notes Tim Romero, president of Integrity Nutraceuticals. But for those willing to put up the resources to fund quality research, the payoffs for the entire category can be tremendous.

Health Claims

  • Calcium for osteoporosis
  • Fibre-containing grain products for cancer
  • Fruits and vegetables for cancer
  • Fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain fibre, particularly soluble fibre, for risk of coronary heart disease
  • Folate for neural-tube defects
  • Soluble fibre from certain foods for risk of coronary heart disease
  • Soy protein for risk of coronary heart disease
  • Plant sterol/stanol esters for risk of coronary heart disease
  • Potassium for the risk of high blood pressure and stroke
  • Whole-grain foods for risk of heart disease and certain cancers

Qualified Health Claims

  • Tomatoes and prostate, ovarian, gastric and pancreatic cancers
  • Calcium and colon/rectal cancer and calcium and colon/rectal polyps
  • Green tea and risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer
  • Selenium and certain cancers
  • Antioxidant vitamins and risk of certain cancers
  • Folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 and vascular disease
  • Nuts and coronary heart disease
  • Omega-3 fatty acids and reduced risk of coronary heart disease
  • Corn oil and a reduced risk of heart disease
  • Unsaturated fatty acids from canola oil and reduced risk of heart disease
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil and coronary heart disease
  • Phosphatidylserine and cognitive function and dementia
  • Chromium picolinate and a reduced risk of insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes
  • Calcium, hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia
  • Folic acid and neural tube defects

For more information, go to www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/flg-6c.html
On qualified health claims, go to www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qhc-sum.html


Condition Specific Guide: A complete resource to ingredients for health.

One of the top trends of the year is the move to market condition-specific nutritional products. An ageing consumer base is gravitating to the concept in an effort to stave off the range of degenerative diseases, and manufacturers are responding to this specialised nutrition paradigm. Suppliers play a key role in the value chain by developing and delivering functional ingredients that target these specific consumer concerns. The whole story — and exclusive Fi directory listing — provides manufacturers with a road map for the terrain ahead.


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