This is evident from the growing uptake of natural and safe alternatives such as functional foods and beverages and dietary supplements, all of which form an integral part of the nutraceuticals space. Consumers are displaying a preference for convenience food with palpable benefits.
Responding to this trend, the food industry has been working toward offering healthy products, amply fortified with nutrients to confer potential health benefits that go beyond the purview of simple nutrition. This led to the emergence of nutraceuticals, and the concept has evolved significantly over the years. It started with the fortification of salt with iodine to prevent the incidence of goiter. In the present scenario, ongoing research has identified compounds with functional benefits, and newer ingredients and substances are being introduced to optimize nutritive value.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (technicalinsights.frost.com), Nutraceuticals--Global Developments in Dietary Supplements, finds that with the growing awareness among all age groups about healthy living, the consumers’ perspective of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is undergoing a radical change, triggering a shift toward alternative and safe methods such as the use of nutraceutical products.
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“Significant volumes of scientific studies have proven that nutraceuticals may be beneficial in preventing the onset of chronic disease conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease conditions, and obesity,” notes Technical Insights Research Analyst Bhavatharini Rajesh. “A higher awareness level of the prevention of various disease conditions is the key driver for companies in the nutraceutical space to develop natural products enriched with vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers and more.”
Rising healthcare costs are also helping to bolster growth in the nutraceuticals space. Both the aging population and younger generation are resorting to these preventive measures instead of spending large amounts on conventional treatment.
“Although the prospects for the market look upbeat, regulatory challenges have slowed market momentum,” says Rajesh. “Manufacturers in this space have to contend with stringent standards imposed by the various regulatory bodies that oversee the safety and efficacy of nutraceutical products.”
To obtain regulatory clearance from the authorities, manufacturers must ensure that their product complies with the standards set by the regulatory board. Therefore, companies must provide adequate scientific proof to confirm that the product is safe for consumption and offers significant health benefits.
In order to surmount this challenge, companies must conduct active research studies to prove the safety and efficacy of the nutraceutical product and fulfill the requisite criteria. If a new dietary ingredient is introduced, the manufacturer must inform the FDA of its intent. The new FDA regulations for dietary supplements focus on eliminating consumer concerns and health risks associated with these products.
Companies are required to provide labels on the product that explicitly define its uses and benefits. The claims that dietary supplements can make on the label may be one of the three types – health claim, nutrient content claim, or structure/function claim. Health claims must explicitly detail the effectiveness of dietary supplements and ingredients in reducing the risk of a disease or health-related condition. Nutrient claims must describe the amount of nutrient or dietary substance present in the product, while structure claims must incorporate details on how the product can affect the body systems or organs. Thus, labeling would help identify spurious products in the market.
Participants in this space have to walk the tightrope, communicating the advantages of their products while conforming to the dictates of the scientific and regulatory bodies.
Nutraceuticals--Global Developments in Dietary Supplements, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides an insight into the recent advances in the market. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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