Antioxidant use on the rise, market report

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Antioxidant supplements, Nutrition

A shift in focus from treatment to prevention is opening opportunities for dietary supplement makers marketing antioxidants, according to market analyst Packaged Facts.

The analyst cites data complied by the Nutrition Business Journal which indicates sales of antioxidant supplements have grown from $2bn in 1997 to $3bn in 2005. The number of food products making antioxidant claims has also jumped in the past five years, with overall products making antioxidant claims securing a compound annual growth rate of 306 percent between 2002 and 2006.     While the term antioxidant has become mainstream in functional food packaging, it also made headlines this year when a meta-analysis called into question the safety of these compounds.    In February, a meta-analysis of 68 randomized trials with antioxidant supplements published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported vitamins A and E could increase mortality by up to 16 percent.    The findings were widely publicized in mainstream media and trade associations, and industry advocates found themselves in a position of having to clean up after the bad publicity. Critics again pointed the finger at the ineffectual study model used to arrive at the conclusions - a case of comparing apples to oranges, they said.    "The media pick up on the findings they deem most newsworthy, which may simply mean the most sensationalistic, and the news isn't always favorable,"​ states Packaged Facts report, Antioxidants: Nature Meets Science for Anti-Aging Solutions. "This presents a serious challenge to the dietary supplement industry."  ​As such, the publisher suggests dietary supplement makers underscore credibility in their marketing efforts. In the case of the negative press on antioxidants, this could mean focusing on attributes associated with the compounds.   "Marketers can also distinguish their products with fruit/vegetable equivalency,"​ says the report. "Another selling point is bioavailability, or the degree to which nutrients ingested become available for use by the body."  ​Antioxidants dull the oxidation of other molecules and thereby protect healthy cells. According to Packaged Facts, these molecules have been linked to a lower incidence of diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.    Because these include age-related conditions, the compounds are in turn popular with Baby Boomers.

Related topics: Antioxidants/carotenoids

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