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Cyvex: Managing consumer expectations is key in weight management market

By Elaine Watson , 19-Aug-2011

The market for appetite suppressing ingredients may not have set the world on fire – yet – but it has legs provided consumer expectations are managed and firms do not overstate the benefits, according to one supplier.

SolaThin – a potato protein ingredient introduced to the US in March by Cyvex Nutrition – is set to feature in a major weight management product launch in the fall, revealed director of business development Katherine Bond.

No magic pill

But consumers expecting miracles will be disappointed, she said. “A large nutraceutical company is launching a product with SolaThin in October, and we are very confident [about its prospects].

“But people have to be realistic. SolaThin is about helping you along and supporting healthy weight management. There is no magic pill or blockbuster ingredient in this market; you still have to follow a healthy diet and exercise. This just helps you stick to it."

Bond was speaking to NutraIngredients-USA following a recent deal with SolaThin’s Dutch producer Solanic under which Cyvex will assume responsibility for sales, promotion and further development for the ingredient in the global supplement trade.

SolaThin vs Slendesta

SolaThin is a potato protein extract consisting of several low molecular weight proteins including protease inhibitor PI-2, which is claimed to stimulate the release of appetite suppressing gut hormone CCK.

With more than 90 percent protein and 40 percent PI-2, SolaThin contained much more PI-2 than rival potato protein-based ingredient Slendesta from Kemin Health, claimed Bond. (According to published specification sheets, Slendesta contains a minimum of 5 percent PI-2 ).

While SolaThin’s claimed effects were supported by some human clinical data, a new human trial looking at a variety of endpoints was starting this month, with results due by the year end, said Bond.

“We will look at appetite and mood, CCK levels in the blood, blood sugar management, calorie intakes and actual weight loss.”

SolaThin is a cream colored powder and can be added to food, drinks, shakes or taken straight, ideally just before meals, she said. “It’s pretty bland and it’s soluble.”

Satiety market: A mixed bag?

Solanic - a subsidiary of Dutch firm Avebe – has patented a process that enables it to extract a range of high-quality proteins from a byproduct of the potato starch production process.

The proteins are primarily sold for their technical properties as replacements for egg and dairy-based proteins, but selected fractions containing high levels of PI-2 are used in SolaThin, which Cyvex has the rights to use in dietary supplements, while Solanic has retained the rights to use it in conventional foods and drinks.

A risky market?

While ingredients claiming to suppress appetite have proved alluring to food and dietary supplements makers, their fortunes have been mixed, acknowledged Bond.

However, SolaThin had the advantage of being both effective and "particularly competitively priced", she claimed.

Two of the best-known ingredients in this market are PinnoThin, an appetite suppressant from Korean pine nut oil claimed to stimulate CCK production, and DSM’s palm and oat oil emulsion Fabuless, which is believed to work via the ‘ileal brake mechanism’.

The palm-oil droplets in Fabuless are claimed to pass relatively undisturbed into the latter part of the small intestine, the ileum, where they send signals to the brain that the body is satisfied.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-USA in May, DSM said Fabuless was performing strongly with several new products launches planned this year, while PinnoThin's new owner Stepan Company said it was confident of growing sales in the supplements and functional food markets after acquiring it from Dutch firm Lipid Nutrition in June.

Unilever: Mixed fortunes

But appetite suppression is not a guaranteed moneyspinner by any means, and some very big brands have got their fingers burned on more than one occasion in their quest to develop hunger-busting products.

Unilever notably spent a small fortune researching hunger-busting succulent hoodia before deciding not to use it, while its ‘Hunger Shot’ product – a one-shot drink with whey protein and fibers launched in the UK in 2008 – was withdrawn within months amid disappointing sales.

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