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Probiotics proving beneficial to microbiome, overall well-being

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As Woody Allen said, bacteria—those microscopic organisms only visualized with a microscope’s help—were the first inhabitants of the Earth and will probably be the last to abandon it. They are also the most abundant living beings on the planet. Experts in microbial ecology calculate there exist about 50 nonillion bacteria (5X1030); this means for every human being on Earth, there are almost seven hundreds of quintillions of bacteria (7X1020). Interestingly, an important part of this microbial biomass lives inside the human body. All this was unknown 10 years ago. Thanks to the application of massive genomic sequencing techniques, in recent years, scientists have determined there are as many human cells in the body as bacteria inside. They are particularly numerous on the skin and in the digestive tract. If a person weighs approximately 155 pounds, 2.2 pounds consists of the bacteria that populate his/her digestive system. In fact, scientific experts have spoken about a neglected organ not described to date that has a transcendental relationship with one’s diet. The reason is clear: a person’s bacterial ecosystem is responsible for extracting energy from the diet and modifying or destroying ingested substances that may be healthy or deleterious to a person’s health.

This set of bacterial species that populate the human digestive tract is known as the gut microbiome. Each human being has their own particular gut microbiome, and no two are the same—it is like a fingerprint. However, there are similarities, so the gut microbiomes of healthy individuals can be classified into three groups, known as enterotypes. The gut microbiome can vary depending on age, diet, the use of drugs (mainly antibiotics) or state of health (e.g., disease, sickness). These changes are usually reversible and open the door to the development of new foods and dietary supplements that contain bacteria and/or metabolites (e.g., prebiotics) capable of returning the microbiome to its original condition or modifying it.

Consider the situation of individuals with celiac disease. Children with celiac disease have a different gut microbiome than healthy children. They have a high proportion of Enterobacteria species and less Bifidobacteria or Lactobacilli counts. This alteration is called dysbiosis and is, to some extent, responsible for the intestinal inflammation these patients exhibit. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, children with celiac disease were given B. longum CECT 7347 or placebo daily for three months, together with a gluten-free diet (Br J Nutr. 2014;112:30-40). Results suggested Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli were increased and Enterobacteria were decreased in the CECT 7347 group, as compared to placebo.

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Sports nutrition performance ingredients

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Performance in sports goes beyond competition to include training or regular exercise. By definition, performance is the execution of an action or the ability or manner used in completing a task. Sports nutrition researchers define performance in terms of strength, power and endurance, as well as sport skills including speed, agility and reaction time. Recently, cognitive function—focus, processing and memory—has drawn rising interest in the market for its impact on overall sports performance.

It could be confidently said that all sports nutrition ingredients have an ultimate effect on performance, even if their primary benefit is in weight management or recovery.  However, many ingredients are researched for an influence on specific performance metrics used by sports nutrition researchers and, thus, have a more direct impact on performance.

Strength and power metrics are tied to the muscles, which are built and driven by protein/amino acids and energy. Each protein source, from dairy to plants and algae, has a unique profile of essential amino acids (EAAs) and specific rates of action. Whey is fast acting, while casein is slower. Each protein can play a role in muscle development and function, and blending different protein types is sometimes advantageous. The branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), specifically leucine, are EAAs singled out for muscle building. Leucine is considered a limiting factor in muscle protein synthesis (MPS), the process of building new muscle mass.

Also involved in muscle building is mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), a regulatory pathway for MPS. Leucine and ingredients such as HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) may signal mTOR-activated muscle growth.

Protein boosters, which help increase MPS, and testosterone boosters are other popular categories of ingredients for strength and power.

On the energy side, which also plays into endurance, ingredients that support production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cellular energy molecule, can support performance gains. Creatine helps energize short bursts of activity, such as resistance training and sprinting, while carnitine helps shuttle fatty acids into the mitochondria for use in later stage energy production.

On the flip side, compounds that inhibit fatigue can also improve performance. Beta alanine and carnosine help buffer fatigue-causing ions in the muscles, whereas caffeine disrupts fatigue signaling in the brain and stimulates the central nervous system.

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Plant-based protein—new innovation

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“Plant Based will be the Hottest Food Trend of 2018,” reported the HuffPost last fall. While they were focused on reviewing foods that serve as replacements for burgers, fish, etc., protein in general has been on trend for several years. When thinking about plant-based protein, it’s important to explore plant-based protein as an ingredient for use in food and beverage products.

Some of the top plant-based proteins are pea, hemp and Sacha inchi (an indigenous Peruvian superfood). Pea protein is the most hypoallergenic of proteins available and delivers 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin D. Hemp is rich in protein and fiber. Sacha inchi is an excellent source of vitamins A and E and fiber.

Developing products that include plant-based proteins such as these can meet consumer needs of protein and provide additional benefits, but how are they best incorporated into food and beverage products?

Beverages are a great place to start with plant-based proteins. Leading the initiatives are alternative milks. However, doing innovation with these types of beverages can be challenging. The production of alternative milks is expensive and the lack of capacity in manufacturing remains an issue. However, ingredient innovation is stepping up to provide solutions that allow plant protein to be utilized in finished products with greater success. Kerry’s ProDiem™ portfolio, for example, offers dairy-free, soy-free and vegan proteins, enabling developers to enhance the nutritional profile of their products such as powder nutritional beverages, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages and nutritional bars without impacting flavor or texture. What’s interesting about this new ingredient developed by Kerry is the ability to develop a high-acid, low-PH product that can be used to manufacture in the hot-fill environment.

Developing a beverage as a hot fill is much more lucrative compared to trying to launch a low-acid beverage with aseptic manufacturing. This ingredient also gives the product innovator a way to launch a more refreshment-like product without earlier issues, such as chalkiness, which can be prevalent with more traditional protein-based beverages. Isopure—protein-fortified beverages presented as a clear, flavored-water product—was one of the original and only protein-based beverages with an ingredient to be able to accomplish this. Though it utilized whey protein, it presented a way to commercialize protein in a beverage as a more palatable option.

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U.S. Sales of Herbal Dietary Supplements Top $8 Billion, Growing 8.5% in 2017

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Total consumer spending on herbal dietary supplements in the U.S. reached an estimated $8.085 billion in 2017, according to a recently published HerbalGram Herb Market Report for 2017. The report, which appeared in issue 119 of the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) quarterly, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram, noted this is the first time total U.S. retail sales of herbal supplements have surpassed $8 billion. In addition, the 8.5% increase in total sales from 2016 is the strongest growth for these products in more than 15 years.

ABC’s annual market report for herbal supplement sales is based on U.S. retail sales data from the Chicago, IL-based market research firms SPINS and IRI, as well as Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), Boulder, CO. The report covers only retail sales of herbal dietary supplements and does not reflect the sales of most herbal teas, botanical ingredients used in cosmetics, or government-approved herbal drug ingredients in over-the-counter medicines.

The report was authored by Tyler Smith, managing editor of HerbalGram; Kimberly Kawa and Veronica Eckl, retail reporting analyst and associate data product manager, respectively, at SPINS; Claire Morton, senior industry analyst at NBJ; and Ryan Stredney, public relations and marketing specialist at IRI.

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Sugar reduction in sports nutrition applications

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The sports nutrition market continues to see steady growth. Athletes and mainstream users, including exercisers and those leading active lifestyles, are looking for products that support their recreational and lifestyle-driven performance. Both men and women seek sports nutrition products to help improve their nutritional intake, general health, well-being, performance, and muscle growth and recovery from exercise. The success of sports nutrition products requires meeting consumer demand with formulations they can trust and rely on, while also delivering on taste. Whether protein powders or bars, gummies, chews, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, pre-workout enhancers or post-workout enhancers, flavor and sweetness must meet consumer expectations.

Clean label and free-from claims

Many active consumers are looking for clean label products, including those with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, and other “free-from” claims. There is a clear shift toward plant-based, natural, sugar-free and less-added-sugar products. Sugar reduction innovation is at an all-time high, and there is tremendous demand for sweeteners that allow for 100 percent sugar replacement—and are also natural and taste good. However, consumer preference for sweetness is still strong, too. Sports nutrition product manufacturers are actively seeking ways to successfully achieve low sugar content while delivering on good taste, texture and overall appeal.

Natural, plant-based sweeteners

The demand for sugar reduction and product purity has brought much attention to natural and plant-based sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit. Stevia has led the natural high-intensity sweetener market, and demand has grown exponentially since its approval and introduction. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is quickly rising in popularity. Many sports nutrition brands are recognizing the benefits of incorporating monk fruit into products and formulations, and it is garnering attention as a sugar alternative. The sweetness of monk fruit comes from components called mogrosides found in the flesh of the fruit. Monk fruit is a no-calorie, natural sweetener with a glycemic index of zero that provides a well-rounded, fruity taste profile, and allows for an added “fruit-based” claim.

Finding the sweet spot

Formulating sports nutrition products that meet these needs may require manufacturers to address significant technical challenges. Reducing sugar content can impact not only sweetness, but also texture, color and the overall taste experience. While athletes and other sports nutrition consumers are looking for healthier alternatives and less sugar, they are also not willing to give up taste. Mintel reported taste is the most important product attribute to consumers. For this reason, reducing sugar in sports nutrition products cannot be done at the expense of flavor and familiarity.

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Prebiotics: The new gut health nutrient driving product innovation

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Gut health and probiotics have been all the rage over the past few years, with copious amounts of new food and beverage products coming onto the market positioning themselves based on their probiotic benefits.

There is, however, a missing link to the gut health puzzle—prebiotics, the fuel for the live probiotics that are already naturally inside the human body, that only in recent months have begun to gain the attention they so rightly deserve.

With science continuing to build in the field of gut health, and the essential roll prebiotics play in ensuring gut bacteria can thrive, it should come as no surprise that the global prebiotic market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4 percent, reaching US$7.37 billion by 2023, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.

With prebiotics coming in many forms, such as various prebiotic fibers or resistant starches, as well as more emerging science showing the prebiotic potential of various polyphenolic compounds, it’s important to explore which products are naturally rich in prebiotics, what products have been specifically formulated to promote a prebiotic benefit and which direction product innovation is moving in the prebiotic space.

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Report highlights herbal supplement market trends: CBD, turmeric, direct sales

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Retail sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States experienced its strongest growth in 15 years, according to a new report from the American Botanical Council’s (ABC)HerbalGram. The category exceeded US$8 billion in 2017, representing an increase of 8.5 percent compared to 2016. Other key findings in the report included curcumin’s strong performance in both mainstream and natural channels, a strong increase in direct sales of herbal supplements, and cannabidiol’s (CBD) position among the 40 top-selling herbal supplements in the U.S. natural channel.

The report relied on data from Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), as well as data developed via a collaboration between market research firms SPINS and IRI.

Both SPINS/IRI and NBJ data pointed to increased sales in the mainstream channel. NBJ’s mass-market retail channel sales totaled an estimated $1.45 billion in 2017 (an 8.4 percent increase compared to 2016), compared to a total of $925.93 million for mainstream multi-outlet retail sales of herbal dietary supplements (a 0.69 percent increase compared to 2016), as indicated by IRI/SPINS data. Unlike IRI/SPINS, NBJ’s mass-market channel analysis includes convenience stores.

In the natural channel, NBJ indicated herbal supplement sales achieved $2.62 billion in 2017 (a 4.7 percent increase), while IRI/SPINS data indicated sales of $405.15 million (an 8.9 percent increase). NBJ analysis of the natural channel includes estimated sales from Whole Foods Market, which are not included in IRI/SPINS data.

Strongest sales growth, however, was attributed to direct sale of herbal supplements, which totaled $4.012 billion in 2017, an 11.2 percent increase compared to 2016, according to NBJ.

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Marketing products to female athletes

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The female athlete/active consumer demographic is growing, giving sports nutrition companies a huge opportunity to craft new formulas dedicated specifically to women. Although women use sport-related product less than men, according to data from the Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) 2017 Supplements/OTC/Rx Database, “this indicates a huge opportunity to develop and market products to women,” said Steve French, managing partner, NMI.

To successfully woo women in the sports nutrition market, brands and companies must speak a different language to women than men, and expand their marketing pitch beyond the traditional category of weight management. Women consumers seek companies they can trust, identify with and that reflect their lifestyles. Brand authenticity plays a huge role in gaining the trust of women consumers.

With so many sports nutrition products offered on the market, women want clarity as to which ingredients work for their body and what products deliver. Brands should invest in educating the female consumer, not fixing them.

For package development, focus first on formulation and ingredients, and then design packaging that highlights the various ingredients and exactly what each does for the female body. Women are seeking results with verbiage that appeals to their intellect, not cute product boxes with just feminine appeal.

Creating an uplifting, empower community around a brand based on trends is a solid marketing strategy for companies with brands that produce results for women. According to Euromonitor, a market research provider, identified the following trends female athletes and active consumers are searching for: healthy desserts and keto-diet focused products. Also, social media influencers are stepping up and launching products, which could be targets for M&As.

Overall, female athletes and active female consumers want products created with ingredients that their body uses to achieve their wants and needs from brands and companies they trust.

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Trends driving supplement industry growth

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Supplements are food but they’re not food. People don’t need to ‘pick up that apple’ with supplements. So, what’s your omnichannel strategy? The question you’re going to have to answer is: What’s your Amazon strategy.”
—Rick Polito, New Hope Network

Part 1: Supplement sales and growth  overview

-Supplement growth is strong. It’s neither spiking or slumping.

-The smart money is in the convergence of food and supplements.

 

Part 2: Defining growth by category

-The supplement industry has a powerful growth story.

-A look at the following categories: Herbs and Botanicals, Whole Food Supplements, Sports & Nutrition, Weight Management/Loss, Functional Food & Beverages and Probiotics.

 

Part 3: Sales by channel

-Supplement sales are growing the fastest in the online channel.  

-Blurring channels fuel opportunities, as well as challenges.  

 

Part 4: Global trends

-Regional overviews give insight to the fastest growing markets.

-Aspirations for a healthy lifestyle lead the global key forces affecting the industry.

-Connected, better informed consumers desire customization and personal engagement.

 

Part 5: How insights to global forces fuel innovation

-Formulations, memberships, ready-to-drink meals and digital packaging are global forces fueling innovation.

-Consumer goals, aimed at prevention and healthy lifestyle, place high demand on the supplement industry to help lower health care costs.

 

Part 6: Q&A

-How will we redefine categories as FDA changes guidelines on packaging for food vs. supplements?

-How should brands handle the issue of harmonization of regulations across global markets?

 

Read The Full Article Here

 

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