Plant proteins, ‘pill fatigue’ and ‘abominable’ weight loss ads: A year in supplements…

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Burcon president Johann Tergesen: “It can be a real challenge to move the industry to adopt new and innovative ingredients.”
Burcon president Johann Tergesen: “It can be a real challenge to move the industry to adopt new and innovative ingredients.”
Could 2012 be the year for canola protein to shine? Will a dietary solution to the ticking time bomb of type 2 diabetes finally make it big in the supplement aisles? And are gummies the solution to ‘pill fatigue’?

In our quest to find the answers, we asked industry movers and shakers from Herbalife and Life Extension to BI Nutraceuticals, Neptune and Aker Biomarine, Burcon, and marketing expert Baker Dillon Group what is lighting their fires (and driving them crazy) as we see out the year.

Slow pace of adoption of innovative protein ingredients is an ongoing frustration

Not surprisingly, Burcon president and chief operating officer Johann Tergesen believes plant proteins tick all the right boxes, a view clearly shared by ingredients giant ADM, which is taking Burcon’s invisible soy protein Clarisoy to market.

However, it’s taking food manufacturers a while to embrace proteins with which they are less familiar, he says.

“In spite of the recognition by food and beverage processors of product opportunities arising from consumer trends toward sustainability, and health and wellness, the slow pace of adoption of innovative protein ingredients is an ongoing frustration for us.

“It can be a real challenge to move the industry to adopt new and innovative ingredients​.”

Chaos in the commodity markets

At BI Nutraceuticals, meanwhile, it’s the weak dollar that’s keeping chief executive George Pontiakos awake at night: “The largest threat is the decline of the US dollar, as BI sources from 35 countries, the devaluation dollar policies of the Federal Reserve are creating chaos in the commodity markets.”

New delivery systems are the future

At krill oil firm Aker Biomarine, US sales and marketing boss Eric Anderson is convinced that “newdelivery systems continue to be the future of our industry”.

He adds: “Gummies are a huge growth area, as are shots and liquids; consumers are suffering from ‘pill fatigue’. Functional foods will also grow, and I am hopeful that the cosmeceuticals channel will start to realize some of its potential.”

As for krill oil specifically, he says: “Consumers are also beginning to understand the different sources of omega-3s, and beginning to understand that phospholipid-bound omegas are delivered to the body’s cells and tissues better than other sources.”

Outliers and cheaters…

And what drives him crazy?

“Without question it is the outliers and cheaters,” ​says Anderson. “These companies harm the entire industry by defrauding consumers. Whether it is infomercial or internet hyperbole, or ingredient suppliers selling product that in no way matches the ingredients that are clinically proven, either way the consumer does not receive the benefits promised and industry as a whole loses.”

He adds: “A product marketer at one of the largest companies in the natural products industry recently said to me, “Our consumers don’t know the difference. They are not educated, so we can sell them this product. If it was in one of our quality product lines we would have to buy the real material.’ Really?”

Low grade fake krill oils

Wael Massrieh, R&D director at rival Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, is equally frustrated with firms peddling poor-quality krill products: “It is a challenge and a threat when new entrants to the market are allowed to commercialize low grade fake krill oils. We are working hard on establishing a pure krill oil monograph to prevent this, but unfortunately until that is achieved there is very little that anyone can do.”

However, Michel Timperio, vice president, business development, is very optimistic about his firm’s prospects in 2012 nonetheless.

“It is undeniable that the Asian market has the most promising growth opportunity for Neptune in 2012… We also see tremendous growth potential in Europe especially with the advancement of numerous Neptune sponsored clinical studies in the aim of achieving EU health claims.”

Massrieh adds: “Neptune also has ambitions to leverage its issued and fully enforceable extraction process and composition of matter patents to launch another breakthrough marine derived natural ingredient with exceptional human health benefits.”

We all suffer by association

But what do supplement makers think?

Herbalife president Des Walsh tells us that in 2012, his firm will continue its strategy to “go wider into new markets and deeper into existing ones” ​as it responds to “three global megatrends: obesity, an aging population and unemployment/under-employment”.

And what keeps him awake at night (apart from a certain court in Brussels)? Snake oil merchants, says Walsh, because everyone else suffers by association.

“The supplement industry as a whole must produce safe, quality products that are substantiated in terms of claims, otherwise we are all susceptible by manner of association. We must all continue to take the high road and conduct our businesses with the highest level of ethics to set an example for others.”

Novel ingredients that fight obesity and diabetes

Life Extension, associate director of scientific affairs, Dr. Kira Schmid, meanwhile, predicts​growth for “novel ingredients that help fight the epidemic of obesity and diabetes”, ​but worries that the NDI draft guidance represents a ”major challenge to innovation within the supplement industry”.

Abominable weight loss ads

And the last word? We’ll give it to the marketing expert…Karena Dillon, president, Baker Dillon Group, who predicts that “ingredients that focus on weight management, cardiovascular and chronic diseases should generate enormous business opportunities for nutraceuticals manufacturers. And let’s not forget all things probiotic”.

And what makes her hackles rise?

“The online small-print ads from companies promising astonishing results for weight loss are abominable. A Google search provides astonishing stories of people who have had negative experiences with those products/companies.”

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1 comment

lovely pills

Posted by Harry,

No pill fatigue never say that only greatfull for them. Keep them coming and try to avoid any reductions.
Have a Great 1012

Kind Regards


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