Heart diseases account for approximately 50 per cent of all mortalities in the industrialized world. With one of the major risk factors for heart disease being elevated cholesterol levels, particularly low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), there is an increasing demand for foods and beverages containing phytosterols or nutraceuticals that lower cholesterol levels.
Frost & Sullivan valued the total U.S. Phytosterols Market to be worth $103.9 million in 2005 and estimates this to reach $196.7 million in 2012.
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Today, consumers are actively seeking products containing health-promoting ingredients, such as nutraceuticals, to improve their health and well-being. In keeping with this trend, nutraceuticals such as phytosterols, that have a beneficial impact on heart health, have grown in popularity. The trend of consumers choosing to lower blood cholesterol through a dietary approach is a key growth driver.
"The growing trend towards fortification of foods with vitamins, folate, minerals and herbal extracts has helped to create a more conducive environment for the incorporation of phytosterols in foods and beverages," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Kaye Cheung. "Phytosterols are now incorporated into a range of foods and beverages such as yogurt, milk, sausages, cold cuts, bakery products, spicy sauces, margarines and spreads."
With the steady increase in the number of new products incorporating phytosterols since 2000, consumer awareness about their associated health benefits continues to grow. At the same time, the wave of regulatory approvals in the European Union (EU) for phytosterol ingredients and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of their cholesterol-reduction claims benefits growth.
"However, consumers are often overwhelmed and confused with the flood of information related to the importance of various nutrients in the diet and are consequently unable to distinguish fact from marketing hype," warns Ms. Cheung. "Consumer education also remains a challenge as cholesterol is not a visible problem to many young people."
Often marketing campaigns aimed at differentiating phytosterols and other heart-healthy food ingredients send consumers mixed messages, confusing them and ultimately, dampening sales. Hence, it is important to create simple and easy-to-understand message to increase the adoption of these products.
"The first step should, therefore, be to increase public awareness of the benefits of phytosterols," advises Ms. Cheung. "Shifting consumer attitudes from awareness to understanding to overall acceptance will be a major area of focus for phytosterol ingredients manufacturers across the globe."
Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics.
U.S. Phytosterols Market