Frutarom: Bladder control is huge untapped opportunity

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Urinary bladder, Urology, Us

Want to Go Less? Frutarom has the answer...
Want to Go Less? Frutarom has the answer...
The market for supplements to tackle an overactive bladder could be huge, but would only realise its potential if firms invested more on educating consumers about a problem believed to affect 25m+ Americans, according to Frutarom.

More than 10 dietary supplements on the US market now contain Frutarom’s ‘Go Less’ blend of pumpkin seed extract and soy germ isoflavones for bladder control, Laurent Leduc, vice president of Frutarom’s US health business unit, told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

But this was only scratching the surface, he said: "We’ve seen a lot of interest in Go Less since the launch, and it is used by big names such as Life Extension and Swanson Health Products to Konsyl, but ​this market could grow a lot faster if there was more open discussion about this topic.

“A lot of people in the baby boomer generation are starting to experience bladder control problems but it’s something they just don’t like to talk about.”

Many consumers suffer in silence

Indeed, the US market for natural solutions to the problem was potentially huge, with more than 25m Americans believed to suffer from bladder weakness of some description, said Leduc, whether it was mild incontinence, or the need to urinate frequently during the night.

In clinical trials with Go Less, participants experienced a significant reduction in the need to urinate at night and fewer urinary accidents, he said.

However, there was surprisingly little competition the dietary supplements market, with most products focusing on urinary tract infections, and many consumers simply suffering in silence or managing an overactive bladder with prescription medicines or continence pads, he added.

While​more than half of women are believed to suffer from an overactive bladder later in life, especially after pregnancy, a significant minority of men also experienced similar problems, claimed Frutarom.

Double-digit growth at Frutarom’s US health division

Leduc, who caught up with NutraIngredients-USA.com at the SupplySide East show in New Jersey earlier this month, said he was confident Frutarom could sustain double-digit growth in its US health ingredients division as it continued to refuel its innovation pipeline.

He added: “We’re growing at about 20% year-on-year in the US health division and I am confident we can sustain this. We’re introducing two-to-five new ingredients onto the market each year.”

A lot of work was also being done on proprietary blends, he said. “It’s often a case of one plus one equals three in terms of efficacy. But we don’t just throw things together and make claims based on the individual ingredients; we conduct studies on the blend.”

The bulk of sales in the health division were to the dietary supplements market, but Frutarom also supplied ingredients for foods, drinks, cosmetics and beauty-from-within applications, he said.

“In supplements the pace of growth slowed during the recession but there was still growth. However, foods are more challenging as it’s difficult to get an efficacious dosage into a food and meet the price point to get into Wal-Mart. People are not prepared to pay a large premium.”

Oral probiotics

Leduc, who launched a new standardized Pelargonium root extract ​for immune health formulations at SupplySide East, said another recent innovation – oral probiotics – had attracted a lot of interest, with customers looking to incorporate Frutarom’s BLIS K12 and M18 ingredients in chews, gums and lozenges.

While the active ingredients were claimed to reduce the risk of sore throats and ear infections, there was also interest from people with bad breath, said Leduc. “People with chronic bad breath don’t want to just mask it with mints, they want to address the cause of the problem.”

Satiety, soy and beauty-from-within

While Frutarom was seeing strong growth in established categories such as cardiovascular health, other areas such as satiety and beauty-from-within were not setting the world on fire right now, although they had potential over the longer-term, said Leduc.

“With beauty-from-within, really we’re just at the start of this market here. We’ve got a couple of US customers but the average consumer doesn’t really relate to this yet. Satiety is also a difficult area. I’m not sure it’s really clicking with consumers.”

Soy, meanwhile, had suffered from a spate of confusing and negative publicity, which was frustrating given the body of research supporting its wide range of health benefits, said Leduc.

From 1995 to 2003 soy really took off – but growth has since plateaued – the media seemed to get tired of saying good things about soy, and now consumers are just confused.”

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