Along with heart health, brain health and gut health, it is weight management that stands out as a category where functional ingredient activity is fierce.
With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.
CLA, green tea, probiotics and prebiotics, capsaicin, piperine from black pepper, and pomegranate oil with seaweed are just some examples of ingredients out there claiming to assist the brain’s optimal function.
The market for conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), a fatty acid naturally present in ruminant meat and dairy products, is led by Cognis with its Tonalin ingredient and Lipid Nutrition with it Clarinol ingredient. The ingredient, extracted from safflowers, has been linked to enhanced ‘body-shaping’ by increased fat burning and improved levels of lean body mass.
The benefits of the green tea extracts have been linked to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves, in addition to epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC).
Green tea is said to contain over four times the concentration of antioxidant catechins than black tea (green tea leaves that have been oxidized by fermentation), about 70 mg catechins per 100 mL compared to 15 mg per 100 mL for black tea.
This has seen European demand surge, having reached 500 metric tonnes in 2003. Companies such as DSM, with its Teavigo boasting 95 per cent purity of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and Taiyo International, with its Sunphenon claiming more than 90 per cent purity, position themselves firmly in specific catechin markets.
There are many other suppliers offering green tea extracts. One of the more innovative is Maxx Performance which recently released an encapsulated green tea extract allowing addition to bakery and other dried goods without compromising flavour.
Another ingredient garnering its fair share of research is capsaicin, the compound gives red chilli pepper its heat. Several studies have reported that the compound may boost heat generation by the body, which means people burn more energy.
Key players in capsaicin include OmniActive with its Capsimax range of ingredients, and Sabinsa. The latter also offers other ingredients targeted at the weight management sector, including its LeanGard blend which includes piperine (Bioperine), an extract derived from Coleus forskohlii roots and extracts from Garcinia cambogia and Garcinia indica.
Chromium picolinate has science behind to support potential weight management claims, and the leading supplier for this ingredient is New York-based Nutrition 21 with its Chromax ingredient. The ingredient recently received Novel Foods status in Europe, making it the only Novel Foods approved chromium. It is distributed in Europe by Ingredia Nutritional.
An emerging ingredient is a combination of pomegranate oil and brown seaweed extract marketed under the brand name Xanthigen and distributed by PL Thomas. A new study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism reported the ingredient may reduce body weight and improve liver health.
Ingredients aimed at boosting satiety include Kemin’s Slendesta potato extract, Lipid Nutrition’s PinnoThin derived from the seeds of the Korean pine nut tree (Pinus koraiensis), and DSM’s Fabuless (formerly Olibra) made from palm and oat oil.
To read the other ingredients in this series, please follow the links below.
To read Part 1, Asia proving growing market in weight control sector, please click here.
To read Part 2, Science: Backing up the satiety and metabolic claims, please click here.
To read Part 3, Science: Slimming ingredients beyond satiety, please click here.
To read Part 4, Regulation: claim making and claim taking, please click here.