Things are always moving in the weight management and sports nutrition worlds. What's new? Nutratech's president Bob Green reveals the new zeitgeist for 2013.
Functional Ingredients: How’s 2013 shaping up? You play in the sports nutrition and weight management arenas.
Bob Green: We’re very optimistic about the year ahead. Advantra Z, Nutratech’s proprietary bitter orange extract, has experienced double-digit growth despite the slow-recovering economy, and we expect that to continue into 2013. The audience for weight management supplements shows no sign of diminishing, and the audience for fitness and energy supplements—especially pre-workout formulas—is booming. We’re no longer catering to only serious athletes and bodybuilders, but also to “active lifestyle enthusiasts” of all ages and walks of life. Because of the rising mass-market appeal of these categories, I don’t see the end in sight.
FI: And yet weight ingredients seem to be a perpetual boom-and-bust cycle, no?
BG: Manufacturers need to get out in front of challenges facing many diet, fitness and energy ingredients: regulatory problems and dubious safety (DMAA); lack of adequate clinical studies and questionable efficacy (hoodia, African mango [Irvingia], raspberry ketones, yohimbine); and high cost and short supply (Coleus forskohlii). They need to reformulate their products with proven ingredients, like Advantra Z, before they have to.
FI: There still seems to be challenges with supply-chain security. What’s your take?
BG: Our entire industry must focus on the consumer trend for transparency in labeling: 100% disclosure of the ingredients in a product. Case in point: Mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) hit a fever pitch last fall due to highly publicized initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (Initiative 522). This is already a regulatory requirement in Europe and is gaining steam in the U.S. Technically, the GMO issue doesn’t affect most herbs and botanicals; it pertains primarily to major food crops like soybeans, corn and canola, etc.
However, there’s no doubt in my mind that the demand for full disclosure in labeling will expand to include dietary supplements. Suppliers will have to do what branded ingredient suppliers like Nutratech have always done: supply extensive documentation that not only verifies the purity, consistency and reliability that manufacturers and regulators require, but also provides the level of confidence consumers demand.