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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Suppliers talked about the most promising market opportunities in immune health.
Athletes, women, and children continue to be the most promising customers for immune-health marketers these days, according to one immune-health specialist at July’s Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo. During the IFT show, Don Cox, senior vice president, R&D and business development for Kerry’s Biothera Health (Eagan, MN) division, told Nutritional Outlook that marketers should be targeting these customers.
“We’re seeing growth across those areas, not just in the U.S. but globally,” he said. Cox said Kerry will continue directing its research attention in these opportunity groups. The company also continues to investigate the many ways in which Wellmune affects immune health. Earlier this year, it announced a recently published study1 with preliminary data indicating that Wellmune supplementation may help protect intestinal barrier function in adults who are stressed. The intestinal barrier is key in helping the body defend itself against toxins and pathogens. Read more on this study here.
Female-targeted products are already on the market in China containing Kerry-Biothera’s branded Wellmune immune-health ingredient, a proprietary baker’s yeast beta 1,3/1,6 glucan. Recently launched products combine Wellmune’s immune-health benefits in with other female-centric benefits, such as menstrual support.
Athletes also are “becoming more aware of additional benefits that they need, such as immune health, to reduce the number of days of missed training, for instance,” Cox said. He said Kerry will release results of a new Wellmune sports study later this year.
“People understand the connection between not only how they exercise but how hard they exercise and the fact that they may need to support their immune system during heavy exercise,” he added.
Interest in immune products also continues building in the children’s category. Of Wellmune, Cox said, “we’re starting to see it a lot more in yogurt products as well as other milk products, and then in more non-traditional formats like gummies or chews.”
At the IFT show, Prinova (Hanover Park, IL) was another company with immune-health delivery systems in mind. The company distributed samples of a prototype “Summer Freeze Immunity Tablet” containing beta-glucans, immune-supporting antioxidants, and other premix ingredients.