Leading US supplement retailer GNC is rolling out the first product containing the satiety ingredient Olibra, a combination of palm and oat oil fractions developed by Sweden's LTP Lipid Technologies Provider, reports Dominique Patton.
The product, a liquid supplement that can be added to a meal or taken as a single shot, is expected to be followed by functional food launches in Europe at the end of this year.
The Swedish dairy Skanemejerier bought rights to the ingredient (previously known as Reducal) for a weight control range in 2003 although a yoghurt in Italy is likely to reach the market before Skane's products, according to Jorgen Quick, LTP managing director.
He noted that supplements require shorter development time than foods but the established safety of Olibra's main raw materials will make it easier to introduce into the food category than many other nutraceuticals designed to help control weight, such as botanicals or new ingredients not traditionally used in foods. These must submit safety dossiers to European authorities before being permitted on the market.
Olibra however is made from two very common food ingredients - palm oil and oat oil - which are then fractionated by LTP at its plant in Sweden and formulated into a novel emulsion.
"These are normal food fats. But it is unique because we have combined them in a very smart way," Quick told NutraIngredients.com.
He added that their effect on hunger is very similar to that seen after eating a meal, with the fats being transported to the normal sites of action on satiety, prolonging the feeling of fullness.
"To be honest, if you eat a large bowl of oat porridge you would probably get the same effect. It is as simple as that. But this is an opportunity for people who don't want to eat lots of oats to gain the same benefit," continued Quick.
This apparently simple satiety effect has been demonstrated in four published clinical studies that show reductions of between 20 and 30 per cent in caloric intake at meals consumed after the supplement. The most recent was reported in the April 2002 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition by a team from the University of Ulster.
The benefits of being able to influence satiety have an obvious advantage on weight management although Quick admitted that prolonging the feeling of fullness is just one way of helping to prevent weight gain.
"There are a number of other factors [aside from appetite] involved in weight gain. This is not a pharmacological product but it is something that can help people to eat less," he said.
GNC , which has exclusive rights for use of the ingredient in supplements in the US market, has launched Olibra as a major extension of its Total Lean weight management brand. Called Total Lean-Reduce, the single 7.5g dose can be added to normal food eaten at mealtimes.
LTP is also in discussion with some major food companies in Europe for product launches at the end of this year or early 2006.
Olibra can be incorporated into many food categories, including yoghurt, soups, nutritional beverages and ready prepared meals.
LTP says it has several thousands of tons of capacity available to meet new contracts.