Nat’ Life: Innovation on the energy market

At first directed to sports nutrition, the Energy segment widens to all consumers, in search of a better healthy life, both moral and physical comfort. Finally, energy products can target serious athletes, as well as people who may exercise once a week and working people accumulating fatigue. With regards to dietary supplement, foods and particularly beverages, the worldwide energy sector is continuously expanding in the last 5 years and is expected to reach more than $39bn in value by 2010. Despite this huge market, only a few final products have been launched. As an example, only 81 launches in France in 2006 compared to 1800 new slimming products during the same year.

By analysing the Energy & Vitality market, ingredients available to date can be grouped in 3 main families based on 3 main communication axes:

  1. Caloric contributors: widely used in energy drinks and foods is a source of energy rapidly bioavailable for the body (e.g.: sugar and associated ingredients).
  2. Stimulants: without side effects for some, stimulants are also frequently used in tonus and vitality formulations offering a shortage of originality (e.g.: amino acids, vitamins, synthetic or natural caffeine).
  3. Adaptogens: their use is mainly based on their traditional application and botanical origin due to a lack of scientific evidence in terms of mechanism of action (e.g.: ginseng, ginger, quinquina, tribulus)

Relating these observations, it can be concluded that the shortage of product launches is none other than the result of a lack of innovation in terms of ingredients’ mechanism of action, conducing to the same messages and claims on most final products, with no possibility of differentiation for competitor formulators.

This article is available in full in the Autumn 2008 issue of Nutraceuticals Now