Consumers Getting on the B-list

Formulators have been looking to B-vitamins to add value to products. These vitamins help the process the bodySeniors exercising uses to get or make energy from the foods we eat. They also help form red blood cells. Demand from consumers for B-vitamins has exhibited steady growth in recent years.  The aging of the Baby-Boom generation has put the need for energy, mental acuity and chronic diseases of aging in the spotlight and many of these conditions have links to the B-vitamin group.

Among the B-group, B-12, is exhibiting growing demand in an aging population not only because of the energy enhancement component, but because of the addition of folic acid to standards of identity for enriched flour, which can mask the effects of pernicious anemia in the absence of enough B-12.  Thus, there is a rationale for adding B-12 to flour because of this concern.  We are preventing 2,500 cases of neural tube defects annually and jeopardizing older people instead.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the connection between nutrition and prevention of disease, despite regulatory pressures not to say what is known lest we go over the line into a drug claim.  TV doctors, articles in mainstream media and the emergence of online information sources have been major drivers of this megatrend.  There is more of a tendency to self-diagnose and self-treat because of the rising costs connected to health care in the U.S. and other developed countries.  There is an economic incentive to remain healthy that was not there a decade ago when most people had company paid benefits.

Some of the major connections between B-vitamins and health include pantethine and niacin’s ability to help balance cholesterol levels, B6, B-12 and folic acid in reducing homocysteine levels, a cardiovascular risk factor, B2 and depression, B1 and B-12 and energy, biotin and skin health., folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects, B6 and B2 in colorectal cancer, B-12 and B6 in optimizing brain function….the list goes on and on.

B-vitamins include:

B1 (thiamine)

B2 (riboflavin)

B3 (niacin)

B5 (pantothenic acid)


B7 (biotin)


Folic Acid

How are we using B-vitamins?

Mixed race woman drinking soda through strawWe have seen interest in using B-vitamins in energy beverages, which has opened up new opportunities for suppliers who have unique technologies to mask the unpleasant odors and flavors, which can result from certain B-vitamins, particularly thiamine and pantothenic acid derivatives (thiamine tablets are often used to repel insects and can also repel people at times!).

The Wright Group’s SuperCoat® microencapsulation technology can help formulators include these and other value-added ingredients without the strong “off” notes commonly associated with these ingredients.

The B-Vitamin Market

We would suggest that customers be very cautious of buying B-vitamins sight unseen.  Most reputable companies require that raw materials be sourced from audited plants, especially in China and India, which account for 90% of B-vitamin supply in 2013.  Sometimes there can be a very high price connected to low product cost.  Always know the actual producer behind the vitamin in question.  Some dealers pretend to be basic and, unfortunately, their customer only discover otherwise when a problem arises.

When in doubt, it would be good to contact a reputable supplier, who understands this market inside and out.

Weight Management: Don’t Pass (on) the Bar

The weight-management category is evolving. We have all seen it. Marketers are turning away from the word “Diet” opting instead for words like “fitness”, “healthy”, and “zero”. And it stands to reason since most people today will say they are watching their weight rather than dieting. Further, the focus in this category isn’t just on simple weight-loss, anymore, Instead we are controlling appetite, boosting satiety, burning fat, blocking fat and carbs, and swapping fat for lean muscle.

We are also seeing portion packaging and a push towards healthy alternatives to products often perceived as contributing to weight gain. Weight management is takes many forms, including a focus on marketing better-for-you products that provide satisfaction through satiety. These products are often taking measures such as adding protein and fiber to products.

Manufacturers are reformulating and have been developing products with overall health and weight wellness as a focus.  The industry is developing products that are more contemporary are often considered trendy.

In this year’s Packaged Facts’ weight management report forecasts U.S. retail sales of weight management products and services, which include food and beverages, meal replacements and diet aids, and commercial weight management programs, are expected to reach $38 billion by the time the 2013 numbers are in and $40.9 billion in 2016. The food and beverage category represents the largest share of sales, at almost 80%.

One area showing very promising growth signs is in the nutrition bar segment. Bars are offering consumers a number of Portrait of young woman eating granola baradvantages fit for modern lifestyles and evolving dietary trends.  Once aimed squarely at the sports nutrition segment, today’s bars offer consumers a healthier on-the-go option, with added nutrient benefits. Thanks to custom nutrient formulation, bars can be developed to work with every type of weight-management philosophy.

Ingredients to watch:

In addition to fiber and protein, here are a few of the ingredients fueling foods and beverages in the weight management category:

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) –has, in recent reports, shown effects for stimulating fat breakdown in the body

L-carnitine-for a boost in fat burning

Chromium Picolinate-has been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and assists in the processing of fats and proteins

Resveratrol-may have a positive effect on increasing the body’s ability to burn fat

Get more info on this and other topics from our industry insider white paper. Log on to to download the latest Marketing Outlook report.

Heath and Wellness Claims Still Driving Breakfast and Snacks Categories

Choosing a breakfast cerealHigh obesity and chronic illness rates are keeping healthy food and beverage formulations front and center in the minds of consumers and on retail shelves. Manufacturers of packaged foods and beverages are showing an ongoing commitment to improving the healthfulness of their offerings to meet this demand. Brands are rolling out new products that are consistent with the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.

The development we are seeing is also leading to a desire for individual value-added ingredients in choices. Consumer awareness of the benefits of nutrients has never been higher. In turn, two of the areas manufacturers are focused on are providing more nutritious breakfasts as well as healthier snacking options.

Better Breakfast– Breakfast options will continue to evolve as consumers are looking for fiber, protein, whole grains, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Another trend to look for in this category is in breakfast foods that provide the healthy energy needed to get through the morning without crashing or being hungry. The popularity of oatmeal and yogurt will continue to thrive, as the benefits touted in these breakfasts are very appealing to consumers.

Healthy Snacking– The average American consumer snacks two to three times a day, and some have even taken to snackingPortrait of young woman eating granola bar more often and foregoing the standard three daily meals.  Nuts, bars, popcorn, cheese, vegetable chips, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and fruit chips are appealing in that they offer more healthful snacking variety. Single-serving, calorie count packs and portion control packs and beverages are also a hit with consumers.

Eating healthy snacks offers benefits to consumers, including increased energy and the feeling fuller longer. Therefore, the opportunity exists for the snack manufacturers to leverage these connections to maximize health positioning.

What healthy trends are you seeing? Follow The Wright Group on Twitter (@wrightenrich) to join the conversation. Also be sure to like our Facebook page for updates on all things healthy nutrition.

Value in a Beverage-That’s Easy to Digest!

Woman drinking the waterApproximately 70 percent of the body’s immune function is located in the gastrointestinal tract, so it’s no surprise that food and beverage manufacturers and consumers are focusing more on gut health than ever before. Besides, who doesn’t want a healthy tummy? We are finding that incorporating probiotics, prebiotics and fiber ingredients into beverage applications is a trend gaining traction in the industry.

Dairy-based products are the most commonly fortified with probiotics while digestive health components such as fiber can be added to any beverage, including clear beverages and even bottled water. Beverages have the advantage of convenience, wide availability and ease of ingredient incorporation. According to Nutrition Business Journal, beverages comprise about 60 percent of the functional products category showing consumers’ desire to get their supplementary nutrition via liquid systems. Further, as the population ages, the demand for digestive health benefits from beverages will increase since many older consumers have trouble swallowing tablets and capsules.

There are a number of challenges with regards to including probiotics, probiotics and fibers to a liquid delivery system. Adding this value to products isn’t as easy as including these ingredients to a liquid format. Fortunately, advances in product formulation are helping beverage companies offer digestive healthy ingredients that can be easily incorporated into good-tasting, dispersible and stable finished products.  Additionally, microencapsulation technologies useful in adding value to many of the most challenging ingredients.

How can these digestive-healthy benefits be displayed to consumers?

The benefit to the consumers’ digestive system is often built into the product name and is prominently listed on the product label, collateral materials and websites. Consumer awareness of soluble fiber is almost universal and probiotics awareness has increased tremendously in recent years, thanks largely to yogurt-based products. Prebiotics are less well understood by consumers, but this will change in time.

The probiotics category is among the most complex of any health ingredient sector because of the many specific strains involved, their intellectual property and their relative benefits. It is a tremendous marketing challenge, but progress is being made.

What will the future bring for the digestive health category?

We see a bright future for digestive health ingredients in beverages in general, though various fiber products will continue to dominate the category unless the regulatory arena becomes more open. Demographics are destiny, and digestive health is destined to benefit perhaps more than any other category. To find out more about using probiotics, prebiotics and fiber in your beverage product, visit The Wright Group’s beverage page.

Keeping Pace with the Sports Nutrition Market

imagesCAFF7NIGThe market for sports nutrition is on track for another record-breaking year. The category is rebounding from off years in 2008 and 2009. Packaged Facts estimates that U.S. retail sales of sports drinks will see about 6% growth this year reaching $7.4 billion. Similarly, the market for nutrition bars is expected to grow 14% and produce sales of 2.6 billion.

Demand from everyday consumers is now driving the sports nutrition category. Further, we are seeing a greater emphasis on general fitness and health positioning, and greater accessibility in grocery and convenience stores. Thus, more on-the-go formats such as protein RTD, bars and powders showed substantial growth in recent years.

So, What Are The Ingredients Driving The Sports Nutrition Market?


Whether we are talking “power protein” for body builders or lighter protein products for weekend warriors, this ingredient is a prominent player in the sports nutrition market. Consumer awareness is driving the need for the value protein creates in sports-focused foods and beverages. According to the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, it is important for athletes (and non-athletes, alike) to keep protein as part of their balanced, nutrient-dense diets and. The JISS also recommends supplemental protein as a practical way of ensuring adequate and quality protein intake for athletes. Look for higher-grade proteins that are more readily absorbed into the body’s muscle tissue.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring compound found in every cell of the body. It’s used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance, and functions as an antioxidant. Did you know Co-Q10 is used as a preventative to muscle strain as well? According to a study in the European Journal of Nutrition, supplements of co-enzyme Q10 may counter the rise in oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise and reduce subsequent muscle damage.


Free radicals are those chemical varieties containing one or more unpaired electrons. These free radicals form in the body as offshoots of cellular activity or as byproducts of items introduced to the body from the outside. Free radicals play a role in cellular and muscle inflammation; they may also lower resistance to colds, flu, cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants provide a powerful defense against attacking molecules called free radicals, which damage muscles through a chemical process called oxidation. The Journal of Sports Medicine says that antioxidant supplementation provides beneficial effects against exercise-induced oxidative tissue damage.

These and other ingredients are the mainstays of this category. The growth in consumer education will bolster the growth in mainstream sports nutrition users. Be sure to visit The Wright Group online to learn more about formulating for the Sports Nutrition market.

Boomers Market is Booming

Baby boomers are on the hunt for products such as beverages and snacks that will help them stay healthy and active.  According to Information Resources, Inc. those born between 1946 and 1964 spent more than $160 billion on consumer packaged goods in 2012. Generally, boomers have established incomes and lifestyles. Baby boomers outpace all other generational groups as far as buying power. This group’s income level and interest in consumer packaged goods help make them an attractive target audience for formulators and manufacturers alike.

Innova Market Insights, Duiven, The Netherlands, identified the top five health claims for functional foods and drinks marketed to older consumers. Health optimization has become a focus for some members of the aging population. This focus is being driven by rising consumer understanding of the role of a healthy diet in extending the active years. This is being reflected in promotion of the idea of healthy aging or aging well. 

The top five health claims sought by boomers are:

  • Digestive/gut health
  • Brain/cognitive health
  • Heart health
  • Bone & joint health
  • Immunity

Companies targeting this group must; however, be cautious not to stereotype all boomers into one category of individuals unanimously focused on a healthy and active lifestyle. Baby boomers are actually in worse overall health than their parents, according to a study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. The study found that although life expectancy is higher for boomers today than it was for their parents, more boomers are admittedly unhealthy. 

What will the future hold for this market? The one thing we know for certain is that this market cannot be ignored. Tell us what your thoughts are with regards to this market. 

Probiotics are Showing Benefits to the Immune Sysyem

Probiotics are all the rage right now.  The tiny (good) bacterium is getting its fair share of media exposure with everyone from nutritionists to TV doctors touting the benefits to the tummy.  The idea of taking live bacteria or yeast may seem strange at first. After all, we take antibiotics to fight bacteria. But our bodies naturally teem with such organisms. The digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria that help keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food.

A new study shows that probiotics can modulate immune responses via your gut‘s mucosal immune system. It was found that probiotics have an anti-inflammatory potential. They caused a decrease in serum CRP levels, and a reduction in the bacteria-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines. Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system as well. The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

What to look for when choosing a probiotics supplement:

Always look for which bacterial strains are included. Also, look for probiotic supplements with the following characteristics:

  • No need for refrigeration
  • Long shelf life
  • Can survive stomach acid so that it reaches your small intestine
  • Stays resident in your digestive tract long enough to be effective

Although probiotics are recognized as safe and generally causes few side effects, Always consult with a physician before starting any supplement.

Probiotics can be added to beverages, foods, stick packs and a number of other solutions that consumers love. Find out more about adding value to your product lineup by formulating with probiotics by visiting The Wright Group online.