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Q&A with Fortitech on innovation, growth, and demand

Q&A with Fortitech on innovation, growth, and demand

We interviewed Rich Schlief, director of marketing at Fortitech, to get a better idea of what the landscape looks like for premixes, functional ingredients, and the future of fortification.


Fortitech is the only multi-national company in the world solely dedicated to the development and manufacture of custom nutrient premixes for human consumption. 

Fi: What’s new or hot at Fortitech in 2012? What’s inspiring these innovations?

RS: We always have something new going on; we keep our R&D department pretty busy and try to stay a step ahead of the crowd. Although we do not produce finished product applications, we develop samples to help showcase our versatility. We formulated our ‘Bursting Bits’ candy to showcase that we can deliver over two-dozen nutrients in candy without compromising the taste, which would make it more appealing to moms as well as kids. However, the response we’ve received from our all-in-one, market-ready powdered beverage solution has been phenomenal. At IFT, we demonstrated our market-ready powder solutions in a PowerCap, a delivery cap-device that makes getting a healthy fortified beverage that tastes great, a snap. The cap holds all the functional ingredients, flavors, colors and sweetener and can be placed on top of any spring water bottle in the market. Once it is placed on the bottle, you press the top to release the powder into the water bottle.

We also featured an effervescent tablet that addressed weight management and two-versions of a fortified mac and cheese, one that targeted kid’s wellness and the other bone and joint health. Interestingly, from what we discovered, there is not a whole lot of fortified mac and cheese products on the market. This would be a great product to help fill children’s nutrient gaps.

Fi: What are your projections for the growth of the sector for the coming year?
RS: I think we will see steady, continued growth within the overall category, but more so within the functional beverage category. And, regardless of the type of product, we will see an increasing focus on condition-specific ingredients and formulations. Global Industry Analysts recently reported that the global market for functional foods and drinks is expected to exceed $150 billion by 2015. Part of this is due to the changing landscape for these products. In the not-so-distant past, one would need to visit a health food store to find many of the products that make up this category and that has changed significantly. Increasing health and wellness concerns have moved functional foods and drinks from a niche segment to a mainstream product now readily available in one’s local supermarket.

Fi: What ingredients or categories have the greatest demand right now?
Boomers are the largest consumer segment, so as you can imagine, products that will be of interest to them include those addressing the areas of bone/joint health, osteoporosis and cardiovascular health, just to name a few. And the ingredients that are most in demand for these are glucosomine and chondroitin for joint health, along with calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium for osteoporosis. For heart health, nutrients like CoQ10, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols and stanols are included in our premixes to address these health concerns.

The perennial favorite, weight management, is constantly evolving. With some products touting their fat-burning/metabolism-boosting abilities, ingredients like CLA and capsaicin are in demand, while those that induce satiety may include not only fiber, but protein as well.

The market for products addressing specific health conditions will always thrive. As technology advances and new studies are released on different nutrients and their impact on various health conditions, we will inevitably see those nutrients grow in demand. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of taste. Regardless of what the product claims, if it doesn’t taste good, it is destined to fail.

Fi: Where do you see emerging opportunity in the market?
RS: Products targeting ‘healthy aging’ will always offer opportunity. The Boomers have laid the foundation for this mindset and future generations will continue to support it. Outside of this, geographically speaking, as the BRIC markets grow, so will the potential for functional, fortified products with consumers in these regions of the world.

Within specific categories of food and beverage, the snacks and confectionery segment is growing across all consumer categories, but from what we have seen, it looks as though beverages will be the primary vehicle for new product introductions targeting health and wellness.

Continued interest from consumers in the management of their own personal health is what we are seeing in terms of formulation requests from our customers. Condition-specific products, as well as those that address immunity are clearly a dominant force that is driving the market at the moment. In addition, we are seeing an increased demand for our all-in-one, market-ready powdered solutions that contain everything a manufacturer needs to launch beverage products faster and easier. 

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