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Downturn keeping consumer thoughts on brain health - Lipogen

By Neil Merrett , 12-Mar-2009

Changing global consumer habits during the current economic downturn appear to be contributing to strong interest in products offering brain health function, says one phospholid supplier.

A spokesperson for ingredient group Lipogen said that the market for products claiming brain support benefits in markets like the US, Europe and Asia remains strong amidst consumer concerns over cognitive function.

The claims follow the group’s recent announcement of a cooperation with France-based Novastell to jointly launch DPS, a phosphatidylserine (PS) product that combines a brain phospholid with omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Mimic

David Rutenberg, chief operating officer for Lipogen, said that DPS was now available in Asia, Europe and the US, where it is marketed as a product designed to mimic the function of human PS.

“It is commonly believed that PS acts synergistically with DHA to increase cognitive abilities, supporting memory, mood, concentration, stress control and other cognitive functions,” he stated.

The Lipogen spokesperson said that the launch of DPS followed collaboration with Novastell, which had seen strong customer interest for a product that can potentially benefit and maintain natural brain function.

Claim concerns

While uncertainty remains over European health claims within the bloc, the company believes that the current Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) position on qualified health claims for PS products and the fact they are not novel foods may further benefit the industry in Europe.

“The combination of the US view and its history of use enables some opportunity for the PS market,” stated Lipogen’s spokesperson. “There are already lots of health claims being submitted in Europe.”

In the US market alone, the manufacturer claims that Lipogen’s PS product had already received GRAS with FDA-non objection back in 2006 and was also linked by some clinical studies to helping adults with age-related memory decline.

Rutenberg claimed that the company expects market demand for preventative health products to remain a key driver for its operations globally.

“Our mission is to improve well-being lifestyle by offering effective brain formulas and by thus helping in decreasing healthcare expenses,” he stated.

Despite the group’s optimism for profitability in the global brain health market, some Europe-based manufacturers have appeared reluctant to push products that are linked to brain function regarding mental wellbeing or the thought process.

Analyst Mintel said that during 2008, no vitamin or supplement products were launched offering functional claims related to the brain & nervous system. Upon further searches, the analyst said there had been a little activity for products linked by their manufacturers to psychological or behavioural factors.

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