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By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor | 12/03/2008
Condition marketing has been growing as makers of foods and beverages increasingly recognize the interest consumers have in treating various health issues with foods.
Until recently, aging, heart health, bone health, digestive health, blood sugar management, brain health and energy were treated piecemeal. But the surge of the past few years in ingredients targeting baby boomers is taking condition marketing to the next level: multiple conditions addressed by single ingredients.
This also has fed the research into ingredients, old and new, addressing these same conditions. The hot ingredients for the coming years are those ingredients able to hook into the pull from condition marketing while benefiting from the push from research.
Vitamin K is one such ingredient. “Vitamin K2 has been shown clinically to reduce calcification of the art
Lutein has been shown to protect eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration. New research showing its protection against the affects of glare may prove a boon to outdoor activity-obsessed baby boomers.
eries and improve bone mass,” says Rodger Jonas, national business development manager for PL Thomas (www.plthomas.com), Morristown, N.J. PL Thomas’ MenaQ7, a natural vitamin K2, “actually helps move the calcium out of these areas and put it into the bones where it belongs,” he says. In one 10-year study, MenaQ7 reduced arterial calcification by 50 percent.
Decades of recognition of vitamin D and calcium for children’s bone health led boomers to realize staying young and active meant these compounds were needed not only for growing bones but aging ones. In addition, the closer look researchers gave D and calcium showed they were important to heart health, and calcium is showing benefit to colon health.
Fiber could also be headed for a jump based on some new studies of resistant starches. “I think the trend is that dietary fiber is becoming segmented into particular fibers and away from the commodity mindset that all fiber is the same," says Rhonda Witwer, senior business development manager for nutrition at National Starch Food Innovation (www.resistantstarch.com), Bridgewater, N.J.
“The FDA approval of only select dietary fibers for specific benefits, such as beta-glucan for cholesterol reduction, and not generic fiber for colon cancer helps set the stage for this.”
The newest point of differentiation for fiber, according to Witwer, are the benefits shown to result from fermentation of resistant starches, such as National Starch’s Hi-maize RS2 and Novelose RS3. Such starches have been shown to reduce cancer risk, increase insulin sensitivity, promote reduction of body fat through increased ability to metabolize fat and decreased deposition of fat for storage.
Fermentation, however, adds a new wrinkle. Although some published studies have shown conflicting data, there is some research that strongly indicates fermentation of resistant starches like Hi-maize and Novelose increases satiety.
On the cancer front, a UK study published in October showed that a combination of RS2 resistant starch and RS3 resistant starch reduced pre-cancer markers in patients with colorectal cancer. It did not impact the crypts or cancerous tissue, but instead it prevented normal tissue from becoming cancerous.
“This is a great study, as they also tracked the genetic expression of cancer-related genes,” says Witwer. “Several studies are now showing fermentation of natural resistant starch turns on genes that impact cancer development as well as satiety. It's a great nutrigenomics story that hasn't yet been told.”
Soy is yet another wellness ingredient due for a resurgence. Long known as a multitasker when it comes to helping heart health, women’s health and reducing cancer risk, soy and its isoflavones merited closer inspection because soy has become ubiquitous. Consumers know and trust soy and its components, today incorporating it as a “pantry” ingredient to be included in their diet throughout the year.
Multitasking takes off
Ingredients geared toward improving cognitive ability, lowering blood pressure, enhancing immunity and improving flavor and satiety are promising to change the image of modern foods and beverages.
“Consumers are interested in some nutrients for ‘insurance’ reasons, such as maintaining heart or bone health,” says Robert Berman, senior marketing manager for DSM Nutritional Products (www.dsm.com), Parsippany, N.J. “Consumers also are looking for benefits they can feel, recognizing it can take up to a month or more for those benefits to kick in.”
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