Published this month, Key trends in nutraceutical food and drinks: novel ingredients, new applications and future revenue opportunities sets out current ingredient trends by health indication: weight control; blood sugar; digestive health and allergies; joint and bone health; cognitive health and energy; ageing and cosmeceuticals; and cardiovascular health.
Business Insight says that the report will help direct marketing and new product development strategies towards a particular health trend, and avoid ingredients with little or no scientific credibility.
It is well timed given shifting health claims legislation in Europe and other global market, which will demand a high level of science behind products making health-related marketing claims.
One of the most interesting trends highlighted in the report is towards the use of cosmeceutical ingredients in soft drinks - far and away the most popular product format for 'beauty from within'.
Whereas in 2002 one per cent of all soft drinks launches were considered cosmeceutical products, by 2006 this proportion had increased to 1.6 per cent.
"In particular there has been a innovation in fortified juices and mineral waters that make beauty claims," says the report. It mentions as product examples Contrex Beauté's anti-ageing/cosmetic water launched in France in 2002, and Coca-Cola's Yokuasa Purun introduced in Japan in July 2006.
Although increases were also seen in cosmeceuticals in the dairy and confectionery categories, these both remain around the 0.6 per cent mark.
However Business Insights predicts that 2007 will be a year of radical gains for cosmeceutical confectionery. "Manufacturers will be marketing their chocolate products as a convenient oral delivery format for antioxidants," it augurs.
Dairy products and bakery and cereals, by contracts, are said to be the leading food formats for weight management. The numbers of new products grew by 107 per cent and 108 per cent respectively between 2002 and 2006.
While some cosmeceutical and weight management ingredients have been thoroughly researched, these indications remain amongst the categories that are most susceptible to misleading and unfounded claims since underlying idea has a high level of consumer appeal.
In the US, for instance, the Federal Trade Commission announced a spate of settlements with weight management companies over marketing claims.
But when it comes to serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, Business Insight says that legislative restrictions are holding back new product development, especially in the blood pressure market.
Since dietary measures are increasingly seen as a first line defence against heart disease, this could prove a stumbling block for a market that could otherwise grow apace.
Some of the softer regulatory markets in Europe do presently permit claims for plant sterols and soy proteins, but may be tightened up under the new EU regulation depending on the European Food Standards Agency's (EFSA) outlook.
Gut health, too, could do with a boost from pro- and prebiotic products being able to make bolder health claims than they do at the moment, says the report.
Marketers tend to err on the side of caution and make only soft claims such as "helps you feel better". But Business Insights says a shift to hard claims is "vital if this segment of the gut health market is to keep growing, particularly in the US".
"The health benefits of such foods and drinks have been acknowledged in many societies for centuries," it says.