Weight-loss market fattens up

Weight-loss market fattens up

Despite a market that is literally getting fatter by the minute, in recent years the weight-loss category hasn't shown the same growth. Product disappointments along with a fickle, fad-based consumer market hasn't helped. But sales finally seem to be bouncing back as new solutions focus on satiety, fiber content, and carb-blocking, metabolism-boosting ingredients.

The United States recently staggered through a political crisis brought on by the country’s ever-growing public debt. Something else is growing, too, and at a rate almost equally alarming: Americans themselves. We’re all getting fatter, and we’re getting fatter faster.

The reasons are obviously complex; as many experts will tell you, if this were easy, we’d have solved it by now. The problem seems to arise from an interplay of lifestyle, psychological, metabolic and food choices – factors that have proven impervious to simple solutions. Nevertheless, like those legislators who are, however ineffectually, chipping away at the U.S. debt, we’ve got to start somewhere.

Despite the large and growing market out there (pun intended), the weight-loss category has suffered in recent years. According to Nutrition Business Journal, sales in the category finally returned to pre-2003 levels in 2010. Disappointments such as ephedra, Hydroxycut and hoodia created a fog in the category that only now seems to be clearing. Sales of meal-replacement products led the way in 2010, with pill-form supplements retrenching slightly. And low-carb seems to have almost disappeared as a marketing strategy, so much so that NBJ no longer tracks it as a distinct category.

A recent report from Health Focus reveals that 60 percent of primary food shoppers in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Shoppers admit that they eat too much, and they say they eat too many snack foods, too.

“While consumer health awareness is increasing and consumers express growing concern about overweight and obesity, there remains a disconnect between attitudes and actual behavior when it comes to dealing with weight issues,” said Caroline Brons, senior marketing manager at DSM Nutritional Products.

Set on satiety

So one way for manufacturers to help consumers is to dial in on one factor, and in a category that has been thin on innovation in recent years, one that stands out is satiety.

One ingredient in this category is DSM’s Fabuless, a patented oil-in-water emulsion that works by simulating the body’s ‘ileal brake’ response. “This signaling mechanism creates a natural feeling of satiety and reduced hunger feelings. Clinical studies have shown that Fabuless helps you to eat less and reduce calorie intake by up to 30 percent,” Brons said. Fabuless formulates well in foods, and has also been launched as a liquid supplement.

Another set of satiety ingredients that have seen some movement recently are those derived from potatoes. In March, Cyvex Nutrition introduced SolaThin, a potato extract consisting of low molecular weight proteins, including the protease inhibitor PI-2. This molecule induces a signaling response that triggers a feeling of gastric fullness, according to the company.

Kemin Industries has its own potato extract, Slendesta, which works on a similar principle. “Slendesta promotes satiety and hunger control and can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle in managing one’s weight,” said Corey Schwartz, marketing communications specialist at Kemin.

Satiety solutions tend to be housed in food-based delivery systems, which make a certain amount of sense. “When you consume a functional food or beverage, it also tends to give a feeling of physical satiety and in many cases reduces the urge to eat more as one feels full,” said Vaibhav Shetty, manager of corporate projects at Indfrag Ltd, in India. “When taking a pill this effect is missing and one may end up eating a lot more calories, which defeats the purpose.”

Fiber fuels the food solution

There are different trends and R&D lines on this issue. For food companies – and even beverage concerns – fiber-filled gums have been gaining cache recently. Other fiber sources include multi-tasking prebiotics like inulin, resistant starch, or the oligosaccharides FOS and the new player, XOS, short for xylooligosaccharides. “Fiber is better for Westerners compared with Easterners due to their different dietary custom,” notes Jason Peng, sales manager at Shandong Iognlive Biotechnology in China, a supplier of XOS.

Block it, or burn it

Other avenues include the traditional diet product approach of boosting metabolism as well as the somewhat newer idea of blocking the absorption of certain kinds of calories such as carbs or simple sugars. In the area of thermogenesis, the longstanding choice has been caffeine, even more popular now that ephedra is history. Another choice is bitter orange extract in the form of AdvantraZ, marketed by NutraTech. As far as carb blocking goes, one choice that has a long market history and a thick science dossier is Phase 2, a white bean extract manufactured by Pharmachem.



Condition Specific Directory

Weight Management


Afrinatural US

Irvingia Gabonensis  (African Mango)



Aker BioMarine

Superba Krill Oil

May help support healthy weight with its ability to decrease the synthesis of endocannabinoids (EC), which is known to influence appetite, energy balance, and mood. Krill phospholipids are the most bio-efficient source for EPA and DHA, delivering more of these EFAs to the cells and tissues.

AkerBioMarine.com; SuperbaKrill.com

[email protected]


Issaquah, Washington, USA



Chia seed ([BEGIN ITAL]Salvia hispanica[END ITAL]L)



Bioenergy Life Science, Inc.

aBioenergy Ribose

A safe, natural way to increase energy.  At one calorie per gram, Bioenergy Ribose is a great source of energy at a lower caloric load. During the fatigue states of dieting and exercise, Bioenergy Ribose can replenish energy as well as decrease recovery times to take the edge off weight loss.


[email protected]


Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA



Zerose™ erythritol

A natural bulk sweetener that has zero sugar, zero calories and zero aftertaste.  It tastes about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as sugar, provides bulk, and masks the aftertaste of intense sweeteners. It is suitable for dental health, weight management and sugar avoiders.



Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA



PhosphoLean® NOPE+EGCG



Cyvex Nutrition


A pure potato extract consisting of several low-molecular-weight proteins, including protease inhibitor PI-2, and includes more than 90 percent protein to promote optimized satiety and healthful weight control. PI-2 enables the release of CKK, a naturally occurring peptide clinically shown to produce a feeling of gastric fullness.

Irvine, California, USA


[email protected]



Fonterra USA, Inc.

Clear ProteinTM whey proteins

Are your protein beverages heavy and milky, or don’t deliver the type of taste experience your customers are looking for? Fonterra’s Clear ProteinTM whey ingredients are your solution. Created to be formulated into today’s top RTD beverages, Clear ProteinTM  provides the difference by delivering better taste, texture and nutrition.


Power Protein dairy proteins

The challenge in delivering high-protein bars and snacks is that they can be poor tasting, hard and chewy. Fonterra’s Power Protein dairy proteins are formulated to provide solutions to these issues, delivering great taste, great texture and great nutrition, which will give you an edge in today’s marketplace.



Rosemont, Illinois, USA


Fortitech, Inc.

Chromium Picolinate



Gencor Nutrients, Inc.




Gum Technology Corporation

CKX-Fat Replacer



Humanetics Corporation




Indena USA, Inc.

Greenselect®Green Tea



InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Inc

Super CitriMax





A high purity vegetarian fiber that leverages the benefits of both low-molecular-weight chitosan and beta(1,3)-glucan. With a ratio tuned for optimal performance, this healthy vegetal fat-binder offers unique characteristics for weight and cholesterol management.


[email protected]

+32 4 259 85 00

Herstal, Belgium


Lonza Inc.


A special grade of L-carnitine, manufactured by Lonza. Carnipure™ supplementation can optimize fatty acid oxidation, stimulating a return to healthy body weight. Supplementary Carnipure™ can contribute to optimal fat oxidation and, along with dietary changes and exercise Carnipure™ supplementation may promote a healthier body weight.

[email protected]



Allendale, New Jersey, USA


Maypro Industries




National Starch Food Innovation

Hi-maize resistant starch, Hi-maize whole grain corn flour, Nutriose soluble fiber



Nutra Bridge Corp




Nutraceuticals International

FucoPure® Fucoxanthin Extract

A study indicated that fucoxanthin has the ability to oxidize fat by breaking apart the stored coupled proteins within WAT fat cells and releasing energy by adaptive thermogenesis. Applications: tablets, capsules, soft drinks, soft chews.


[email protected]


Elmwood Park, New Jersey, USA


Nutratech, Inc.

Advantra Z®



OmniActive Health Technologies

Capsimax Capsicum Extract







Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc.

Phase 2 Carb Controller

The first scientifically studied proprietary extract of the white bean, and the only weight control ingredient with two separate structure/function claims. Phase 2® may reduce the digestion of starches and aid in weight control when used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program. Studies have also shown that it reduces the glycemic index of white bread and may support healthy blood glucose levels. It is a natural, safe and non-stimulant ingredient for use in dietary supplements or functional foods.



Kearny, New Jersey, USA


P.L. Thomas




Roquette America Inc.




Sabinsa Corporation


Contains an advanced spectrum of natural ingredients that work synergistically to support satiety, lean body mass and a healthy body composition. A combination of patented and clinically tested ingredients composed of ForsLean®([BEGIN ITAL]Coleus forskohlii [END ITAL] root containing diterpene forskolin), GarCitrin® ([BEGIN ITAL]Garcinia cambogia[END ITAL] fruit containing hydroxycitric acid and garcinol) and BioPerine® ([BEGIN ITAL]Piper nigrum [END ITAL]fruit containing alkaloid piperine).


[email protected]


East Windsor, New Jersey, USA





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