While it’s easy to get caught up in the latest research on supplement ingredients or new regulatory requirements, often it’s just as easy to overlook recent advances in packaging technology and design. The right package, however, can add value to products by attracting consumers, conveying important nutritional information, and protecting sensitive ingredients.
A manufactured beverage’s taste is its raison d’etre—its purpose for being. In the words of Scott Backman, market development manager, functional food and food technology for global ingredient supplier Cognis Nutrition & Health (La Grange, IL), “Taste is the most important factor in a beverage. The consumer has an expectation when consuming a beverage. If that expectation is not met, the beverage will fail.”
Since the passage of DSHEA in 1994, the industry has waited patiently for the advent of official good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements. The arrival of the GMPs, like the much-anticipated emergence of the groundhog, could herald either a long “winter” clouded with new regulatory burdens, or an early “summer” that levels the corporate playing field.
Fortunately, new technology is helping manufacturers make tablets, capsules, and liquids that offer nutritional benefits without sacrificing taste and quality.
Let’s focus on milk and soy. To say which of these two protein sources is more significant would be to detract from their uniqueness. Milk, after all, is animal based, and soy is vegetable. Milk protein accelerates physical recovery from numerous ailments, and soy protein mitigates heart disease.
Riding high on a 19% increase in dollar-volume sales over last year, antioxidants are poised to enter the mainstream. AC Nielsen (Schaumburg, IL) predicts that antioxidants will be one of the fastest-growing consumer health segments in 2006, with so-called “health activists” spending more on the category than any other market segment. In 2005, products that contained antioxidants saw a 31% gain in dollar sales among health activists and a 52% increase among “health neglectors” who aren’t overly concerned about nutrition.
As the body of peer-reviewed research on cognitive-function ingredients continues to grow, omega-3 is just the tip of the iceberg for natural alternatives to prescription drugs, say industry experts.
Cosmeceutical users are diverse. But despite their differences, they are united in one goal: to slow the signs of aging. “Everyone is looking for a good formula that works in real life,” says Ohad Cohen, CEO of herbal extract supplier Vitiva (Markovci, Slovenia). “If the formula is all natural, that’s the best scenario.”
A new federal law that regulates the sales of cold and allergy products could help bring immunity supplements in from the cold. On April 8, 2006, the Combat Meth Act went into effect. The act, which places nonprescription drugs that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine behind the counter, also sets limits on how much consumers can purchase during any 30-day period. A flurry of state laws under consideration could impose further restrictions. The changes might help boost demand for dietary supplements that activate the immune system.
As more Americans are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to address their health concerns, many practitioners have been struggling to remain knowledgeable about the latest research concerning natural products. More than a third of all American adults used some form of CAM from 1997 to 2004, according to a report by researchers from Harvard Medical School (Boston). And while the number of people using CAM has remained relatively steady since the 1990s, the types of CAM therapies they are using have been changing. Herbal medicine—the category that made the largest gains—grew by more than 50% from 1997 to 2004.
Is the media accurately reporting the results of the latest dietary supplement research? If not, what should the industry do? If so, what can the industry do? Manufacturers have been grappling with these questions for the past several years and may be closer to finding some answers.
Jonathan Emord knows a thing or two about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Rockville, MD). He has defeated the agency in federal court a record six times and served as plaintiff’s lead counsel in the 1999 Pearson v. Shalala, 2001 Pearson v. Shalala, 2001 Pearson v. Thompson, and 2002 Whitaker v. Thompson cases.
The good news is that there’s growing evidence nutritional supplements can play a key role in treating people with heart disease.
Until recently, the federal government had said very little about what constitutes a whole-grain food. That changed on February 17, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Rockville, MD) issued a draft guidance document clarifying its views.