HeartStrong Gum

Rising role for resveratrol in non-supplement applications

Awareness of resveratrol and its potential health benefits is relatively long-established, but with increasing consumer interest in health and the growing body of research being carried out into its role and efficacy, its use is starting to move out of the specialist dietetic market and more into the mainstream.

Innova Market Insights has recorded global launches of food and drinks products containing resveratrol for a number of years. Numbers have been rising consistently between 2000 and 2010, with particularly strong activity in 2009 and 2010 as products other than supplements started to appear in greater numbers. This was particularly so in the US, where interest was boosted by introduction of a number of branded resveratrol ingredient blends.

While the actual number of launches featuring resveratrol recorded globally fell back in 2011 and appeared relatively static in 2012 to date, the share taken by supplements has also fallen, from about 90% in 2009 to 80% in 2012.

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that is claimed to help prevent the free radical damage that can lead to the premature ageing of cells and has been linked with an anti-cancer effect, cardiovascular health and healthy inflammatory processes, as well as anti-aging properties that help to promote youthful energy and appearance.

It is found naturally in peanuts, mulberries, grapes and Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), although one of its most publicised aspects is its presence in red wine (from grape skins).

Supplement launches with resveratrol have continued and become more widespread and sophisticated, often including other ingredients and targeted at different consumer groups and health requirements.

Activity in non-supplement lines tended, at least initially, to focus on beverages, confectionery and snacks, using the natural presence of resveratrol in key ingredients such as grape skins, cocoa powder and peanuts, respectively. As a result, early launches included wine and chocolate, both marketed on their high resveratrol contents.

The US beverages market has probably seen the most activity in terms of food and beverage introductions highlighting resveratrol content. The Genesis Today Pomegranate Berry Boost line was replaced with Pomegranate & Berries with Resveratrol in 2012, with other recent launch activity recorded by Innova Market Insights including Genso Heart Juice with cardio-protective ingredients, including resveratrol.

An interesting hot beverage launch was Republic of Tea’s Get Young No. 19, a herb tea for longevity featuring ingredients such as organic rooibos and maqui berries, as well as resveratrol.

The US also saw its first resveratrol-fortified chewing gum in 2012, with Cheiron’s Heart Strong Gum, claiming to have 40 times more resveratrol than a glass of red wine.

Innova Market Insights research manager, LuAnn Williams, reports that while products containing resveratrol remain relatively limited, particularly outside the supplements market, there are indications that this may be set to change.

“There are higher levels of interest in the US and perhaps the emergence of a similar trend in Europe. This comes in the wake of EU Novel Foods approval for Fluxome Resveratrol, through the substantial equivalence process in early 2012, clearing the way for its use as an ingredient,” she concludes.