Weight management products get judged live at Nutracon Slim Slam

How to know if the latest, greatest ingredient has the cache you need to either bring your product to market or get it to the next level?

At the second annual Nutracon “Slim Slam,” a panel of industry gurus with backgrounds in science, marketing and regulatory acumen gave four entrants and the audience of Nutracon attendees a framework and standard for evaluating products in the weight-management sector.

Pharmachem’s Phase 2 ingredient had its scientific dossier explained by Georgetown University Medical Center researcher Harry Preuss, MD. Preuss noted the ingredient overcomes rapid carbohydrate absorption and thus prevents to some extent insulin resistance and diabetes. But eagle-eared panelist Anthony Almada challenged Preuss’ evidence base, asking why the positive research studies were conducted in Italy and China when the market base for the product was Americans.

OmniActive’s Capsimax has research results that will be announced this year “on Americans and in an American university,” noted Abhijit Bhattacharya, chief operating officer at OmniActive Health Technologies. But Almada pivoted on that remark and asked about comparison studies to caffeine alone. “It’s the ratio that works in this particular blend,” said Abhijit. “Caffeine doesn’t do it alone.”

When presenters weren’t being directly challenged on the science, they were on other aspects of their product. For instance, Cognis’ Tonalin brand CLA has a decent scientific dossier. But panelist Tom Aarts zeroed in on the cost per serving manufacturers would have to pony up to integrate the ingredient into foods or beverages. “It needs to be two cents, four cents tops,” said Aarts. “What is it for Tonalin?” The answer: six cents. “That won’t fly with big food companies until the cost is down,” said Aarts.

Attendees had the opportunity to judge the entrants on a separate scorecard, the outcome of which has yet to be determined. Next up: The Brain Storm, which takes place Thursday at Nutracon. Back off, Simon Cowell!

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