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Dispatches from SupplySide East

US heart health product launches have tripled in five years

By Elaine Watson , 06-May-2011
Last updated on 06-May-2011 at 16:52 GMT2011-05-06T16:52:43Z

Clean, healthy arteries ...

Clean, healthy arteries ...

New product launches in the US food, drink and dietary supplements market on a heart health platform have tripled in the past five years, and now account for 1.5 percent of all new launches.

New market data – unveiled by Windrose Partners president Greg Stephens at the SupplySide East show in New Jersey – also suggested that there was a lot more scope for growth as consumers moved beyond cholesterol and blood pressure and new ingredients hit the market, predicted Stephens.

“More education is needed, but consumers are beginning to learn that cholesterol is only one biomarker of cardiovascular health; we are even starting to see [the inflammatory biomarker] C-reactive protein talked about in the mainstream media.”

Sales of US heart health ingredients (wholesale) topped $563m in 2008 and were predicted to exceed $1bn by 2012, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 20%, he added.

Clean, healthy arteries …

As to what language to use when talking about heart health to consumers, research from the Natural Marketing Institute also suggested that the phrases ‘promotes clean, healthy arteries’ or ‘arterial health’ resonated strongly, creating new opportunities for the industry, he said.

Fiber was a particular area of untapped opportunity on this front, he claimed, citing recent research into the cardiovascular benefits of Stratum Nutrition’s Artinia product, a chitin-glucan fiber from the fungus Aspergillus niger claimed to control the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

While consumers did not necessarily associate the word ‘fiber’ with cardio health, with most citing ‘oats’, ‘omega-3s’, ‘wholegrains’, ‘dark chocolate’ and ‘antioxidants’ ahead of ‘fiber’ when asked what ingredients were linked to heart health, more than a quarter believed they were not getting enough fiber, he noted.

Meanwhile, fiber was second only to calcium in a list of ingredients about which consumers claimed to know at least one health benefit, he pointed out.

Target market

As for the target market, there were two distinct groups, he said: people managing existing heart conditions, and people worried about cardiovascular health and looking to reduce their risk of problems in the future.

While it was always harder to persuade people to buy something that might not provide a benefit for decades to come, the preventative health contingent in the heart health category was larger than that in many other categories because so many people had a parent or close relative with heart problems, pushing the issue higher up the priority list, he added.

Datamonitor: Resveratrol is one to watch …

Datamonitor product launch analytics director Tom Vierhile said the US market (at retail level) for heart health products was worth $5.6bn in 2009 and predicted to be worth more than $7bn in 2014.

As for heart health ingredients, the sexiest new kid on the block was definitely resveratrol, a polyphenol in red wine some researchers argue could explain the ‘French paradox’ (The French have a low incidence of heart disease and obesity, despite high wine consumption and a relatively high-fat diet), he claimed.

We’ve seen a tripling of new food and beverage products that contain resveratrol in one year (2009-2010). This is an ingredient to watch.”

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