Hoodia gordonii, a plant that grows wild in the area stretching from the Ceres-Karoo, through the Northern Cape, to the Kalahari, has been consumed by the bushmen for thousands of years to suppress appetite on hunting trips. Research into its appetite suppressing properties and the isolation of the active ingredient P57, (which has been patented and is under license to Unilever) has spawned immense interest in the plant in the West. As appetite management gains credence as an approach to weight management, demand has exceeded supply. Antoine Dauby, marketing manager for Naturex told NutraIngredients that the new addition to the Nat'Activ line is available in the EU, USA and Asia. Two reasons prompted the company to add the ingredient to their existing line, he said: "On the one hand, there is strong demand for Hoodia, and on the other, we have a very nice product." Inexpensive Hoodia imitations are currently discrediting the market. The authenticity of Naturex's ingredient, sourced exclusively in Africa, has been assessed and verified by independent laboratory Alkemists, said Naturex, with up to date CITES certificate for all its Hoodia Gordonii references available to customers. "While most of the Hoodia Gordonii available on the market fail the strict HPTLC Alkemists' analysis of authenticity, Naturex product successfully passed these rigorous tests," said the company in a statement. "We are proud to have a large inventory for this pure and authentic product. It is an additional proof of our commitment to the development of natural, healthy and safe ingredients," said Jacques Dikansky, president and C.E.O. of Naturex.
The retail market for weight management products was estimated by Euromonitor International to be worth US$0.93bn (€0.73) in Europe in 2005 and $3.93bn in the US, indicating that call to slim down or face the health consequences is being heeded by a slice of the overweight population at least.