Since cavemen wiped their snot with prehistoric leaves, humankind’s been plagued with germy crud. We’ve been forever filled, not only with boogers, but with a desire to avoid feeling lousy. The quest to bolster our defenses has boosted sales in the immune-health category. Sales of products claiming an immune-boosting ingredient grew from $2.211 billion in 2012 to $2.327 this year, according to Nutrition Business Journal, which estimates sales of $2.449 billion in 2014.
Numbers are not spiking like your temperature when you have, say, pneumonia – more along the lines of a slowly rising fever accompanying the common cold, but the future looking quite healthy. David Walsh, vice president, communications, of Biothera, the Immune Health Company in Eagan, Minnesota, gives an overview.
Fi: Where do you see the bright spots for growth?
DW: There are a number of statistics that indicate continued strong growth for the immune category. Consider:
· In 32 countries, “frequent colds/flu” has evolved into one of the top-five health issues for consumers, according to research by Health Focus International.
· In the U.S. OTC market, products for immunity are worth $5.98 billion in sales and account for 30 percent of all OTC product sales.
· In the dairy category, Danone’s probiotic brand Actimel is the world’s biggest food or beverage brand, with sales topping $2.4 billion.
At Biothera, we expect double-digit sales growth well into the future. Our proprietary immune health ingredient, Wellmune WGP, is in more than 100 foods, beverages and supplements in more than 50 countries.
In terms of product categories, the largest opportunity is for health and wellness products designed for people under stress. Numerous studies demonstrate that physical or lifestyle stress can weaken the immune system. Peer-reviewed clinical research with Wellmune WGP consistently demonstrates its ability to boost key immune cells that help keep the body healthy even during periods of high stress. We also see strong interest in immune-health products for children and the elderly. Another category we are focusing on is sports nutrition. Our clinical research with marathoners and athletes cycling in a heat stress lab show that Wellmune can boost the immune system before and after exercise.
Fi: What’s going on in terms of science in this category?
DW: The science behind functional ingredients has never been more important than it is today. Multiple well-designed, peer-reviewed clinical studies are required to support product claims and demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a functional ingredient. For instance, eight human clinical studies on Wellmune have now been published demonstrating significant health benefits, and these positive outcomes translate to immune claims fully supported by these research outcomes.
We believe that this higher level of science will separate some immune-health products from others, both in the eyes of consumers and in their value to food, beverage and supplement manufacturers.
Fi: How does your product fit into the big picture in the immune-health category?
DW: Wellmune WGP is already an industry leader in terms of research and regulatory approvals (including GRAS no-objection in the U.S. and novel foods in the EU and China). Our research has led to innovative and compelling product claims, and Wellmune’s physical characteristics make it formulation friendly. We offer our manufacturing customers a broad range of support to help them be successful. This may include product-formulation support, ingredient-validation post-processing, and marketing-claims guidance.
BioCell Technology, LLC
i-Sabi is a proprietary ingredient derived from wasabi japonica. Studies demonstrate that i-Sabi offers healthy immune and inflammation support via potent specific suppression of cox-2, leaving cox-1 intact. Healthy-liver support and detoxification via induction of a master switch, nrf-2, for cytoprotective genes. Antioxidant support by protecting cells against oxidative damage.
Newport Beach, California
Wellmune WGP® is a natural immune health ingredient for foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Wellmune is clinically proven to safely boost immune cells that help keep the body healthy. Wellmune is a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan that offers compelling product claims, broad regulatory approval and ease of formulation.
Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica
Embria Health Sciences
Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH
Black Cumin CO2-Extract
The fatty oil has a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids including 45-65 percent linoleic acid as well as > 1 percent of the rare eicosadienoic acid. In dietary supplements the CO2-extract is used because of the benefit of its immune-boosting, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic properties.
49 68 35 91 950
Cran Naturelle Organic
Ganeden Biotech Inc.
Indena USA Inc.
A proprietary natural immune-support ingredient formulated to deliver triple-action immune benefits year round. Made from North American larch trees, it consists of the soluble fiber arabinogalactan and bioactive polyphenolic flavonoids, thus has antioxidant capacity.
Allendale, New Jersey
Lallemand Health Solutions
Finished Products: Probiokid, Probiostim, LaftiL10,
Strains: L.helveticus Rosell-52, B.bifidum Rosell-71, L.rhamnosus Rosell-343, B.animalis lactis LaftiB94
Close to a century of probiotic expertise in the selection, development, production and marketing of probiotic strains and formulations with the Institut Rosell and Harmonium International have resulted in these latest ingredients that boost immunity for seniors, children and sportsmen.
+33 5 62 74 55 55
Maypro Industries LLC
Active hexose correlated compound, a fermented extract of the mycelia (roots) of Japanese medicinal mushrooms, rich in immune-modulating alpha-glucans and highly absorbable. Shown in 20 human clinicals to support cellular health, liver health and daily immunity. Works by increasing the number and activity of white blood cells as well as cytokines.
PharmaNutrients Botanical Corp.
Wellmune WGP is a natural, GRAS ingredient that is clinically proven to enhance key immune responses and promote health, wellness and vitality. It safely and effectively primes innate immune cells that are a key part of the body’s natural defenses.
The Scoular Company
Non-GMO Acerola Cherry, 34% Vitamin C
Scoular is committed to supplying ingredients that consumers will identify as high quality and natural. Our acerola cherry ingredient contains the highest concentration of Vitamin C available on the market, and the content is entirely derived from the cherries, not from a foreign extraction process.
& ESM Technologies
BLIS K12 probiotic
BLIS K12 is the natural probiotic solution to support ear, nose and throat (ENT) immune health. Backed by more than 30 years of research, BLIS K12 provides safe, reliable support for ENT and immune system support – primarily indicated for children.
St. Charles, Missouri
Super Beta Glucan Inc.
Immulink MBG is highly purified with a broad range of temperature/pH capacity. Due to the unique polysaccharide structure, it naturally water soluble, which can make it an ideal candidate for manufacturing daily consumables such as baking goods, beverages and dietary supplements. Immulink MBG mobilizes components of the immune system through a scientifically validated mode of action to promote immune wellness.