Innovation in ingredients


The nutraceutical ingredients are  basically  natural   bioactive compounds that possess health   promoting  and   medicinal properties, they  also possess disease  preventing properties  up  to some  extent. These bioactive compounds   can be derived from plant or animal sources. The health benefits of nutraceuticals in general, and their application in foods, beverages, dietary supplements, pediatric and adult nutrition preparations support and aid in the use of nutraceutical ingredients.
Nutraceutical ingredients market.
Nutraceutical ingredients market is rising with increased health awareness   among   people   and   growing health concerns, increasing  demand for healthy food, personal care products and safe animal nutrition  products. The consumers no longer view food merely as a means of satisfying hunger but, as means of meeting nutritional needs. The increasing aware- ness and usage of nutraceuticals and their application in food, beverages, dietary supplements, human and animal nutrition preparations, support the use of nutraceutical ingredients.
According to a report published by Reportlinker, the global demand for nutraceutical ingredients is fore- casted to grow  at 7.2% annually  to $30 billion in 2017, aiding the end product   markets totaling   $369 billion. Global trends in nutraceutical ingredients   will result in, developing regions achieving much faster growth in terms of consumption and production than developed regions. Emerging nations like Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as countries like Mexico, Poland and South Korea are expected to expand and diversify their food and beverage industries. Amongst these, China is expected to become one of the largest global pro- ducer and consumer of nutraceutical ingredients by 2020 due to increasing investments and rising consumer incomes. Overall the emerging countries as well as developed countries will be the key customers for nutraceutical ingredients.
The ingredient categories that are poised to grow in the near future are; soy proteins & fibres, oat bran psyllium, omega fatty acids, cranberry and garlic extracts, calcium, magnesium and zinc minerals, Vitamins A & C and probiotics like Bifidobacterium  and Lactobacillus.
The   nutraceutical   ingredients can be applied to variety of nutraceutical products such as dietary supplements, functional foods, functional beverages, animal nutrition as well as personal care. The major application of nutraceutical ingredients is seen in dietary supplements segment.
From ingredients to formulations
In pharmaceuticals industry the formulations or finished products are branded whereas there are no branded APIs (Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients) in pharma.  As we can see that the pharmaceuticals industry moved to formulations directly with not much emphasis on the development of APIs segment.
Since the nutraceuticals industry is still at the nascent stage and in some ways is different from pharma industry, the ANIs (Active Nutraceuticals Ingredients) segment is set for further growth. Since the ingredients segment alone has a huge potential and is poised for growth, there is a good opportunity of branding the ANIs aiding the growth of nutraceutical ingredients industry. The investments required to make a finished product a brand is high while, the investments required in branding of ingredients is relatively low and is a good option to grow in the nutraceuticals industry.
In ingredients, preblends or premixes could be focused on for branding. A pre-blend  or premix is a combination  of ingredients that  have  been mixed together and  sold to the  finished  product  manufacturer and/or provided to a processor as a preliminary step in the production of a final food  or  beverage   product.  Unique and   customised   premixes can be prepared by the ingredient suppliers or processors and sold as individual brands.
From ingredients to premixes: Is it viable?
With the increase in demand of nutraceutical ingredients, the ingredients market can diversify into pre-blends or premixes and bring in innovation in the way ingredients are presented. The manufacturers, suppliers or sellers, instead of selling just a single ingredient, can premix two or more ingredients   in a standardised mix with specific quantity of each ingredient and sell the premix or blend. Such ingredient premixes or blends will assist the finished product or formulation manufacturers in the fortification of food products, supplements and other nutraceutical products.
Currently, not many companies sell premixes   but, these   mixtures   can pose as good option and investment from supplier’s and seller’s point of view. These customised mixtures have several applications including infant nutrition, clinical nutrition, beverages, dairy products, supplements and so on. According to a research by the Industry ARC, the variety of premixes can be categorised based on the type of nutrients present in the premix.
The various categories are vitamins, minerals, nucleotides, amino acids, fibres, probiotics and nutraceuticals. Amongst these categories, the vitamin premixes are more extensively used in the food and supplement industry as compared to other premixes mainly due to their wide application base and availability of different vitamin formulations.
Preparing  pre-blends   and  premixes is time  and  resource  consuming  as the  components of the  mix need  to be carefully measured and mixed together  under  strictly defined  conditions, perform  necessary  quality and food safety checks and so on. But, given all the efforts involved in preparing a premix ingredient system, the over- all value of the investment needs to be taken into consideration.  But the premixes of ingredient systems are valuable for immediate fortification of food and dietary supplements.
The nutritional premixes assist the end-product manufacturers to offer customised nutraceutical or nutritional products   to the consumers. With the increasing demand for products that provides specific health benefits, food companies have been seeking and will continue to seek premixes that help them to attain desired  nutritional  profiles for their products. Premixes are currently used in the manufacture of food and supplement products that are targeted towards consumer groups seeking bone health, beauty, resistance, energy, immunity and digestion. The formulations, fortification and end use product varies according to the required health benefits. Advancements   in science   and   technology along with robust technical capabilities have allowed the suppliers and processors to offer innovative premixes. However, the awareness and benefits of nutritional premixes have not yet been well established.
Future potential of nutraceutical ingredients
Continuous research is being carried out on new types and forms of ingredients, such an improved bioavailability is a future development route. Developing nutraceutical ingredients using the pharmaceutical approaches is also being considered   as the current method is relatively tedious. New innovative and niche ingredients are expected to lead  industry, by focusing on specific nutraceuticals and functional ingredients  for specific health problems.So the question is can the premixes really grow as a separate category or brand in the nutraceuticals ingredients market?

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