CoQ10 creeps into US energy drinks

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coq10, Coenzyme q10

Beverage manufacturers in the US are keen to leverage the
energy-boosting properties of CoQ10, with data revealing that the
ingredient is being increasingly used in energy drinks.

Six new energy drinks containing the antioxidant were launched in the country last year, and although the figure is still relatively low, it reveals a gradual but strong increase from previous years. In 2006, CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10, was used in four new food and beverage products, in 2005 it appeared in two and in 2004 it was used in only one new product. The data from Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD) suggests the US market for CoQ10 as a functional ingredient is slowly opening up, as its use expands beyond the supplement market. A powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell - by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'. It has been studied for its role in cognitive health, heart health, and anti-ageing (in oral and topical formulations). There were 35 overall global launches of foods and beverages containing CoQ10 in 2007. This was a slight dip from 43 products in 2006, but still up on 18 launches in 2004 and 23 in 2005. Energy drinks were the most popular new launches containing the antioxidant, with eight new products introduced onto the global market. Examples are the Jimi Hendrix Liquid Experience Beverages launched in the US by Beverage Concepts, and Migros' Actilife product, launched in Switzerland. Drinking yogurts and liquid cultured milk were also popular carriers of the ingredient. A total of five new products were introduced in this category last year, with an example being Nestle's Svelty item launched in Mexico. Nectars and meal replacements also saw five new global launches each. Other categories that have also seen the use of CoQ10 include tea, spoonable yogurt, shelf-stable desserts, white milk, sports drinks and beverage mixes. Historically the CoQ10 market has been dominated by four Japanese players with the capacity to supply multi-ton quantities of the ingredient, three of which produce CoQ10 through a fermentation process, with one through organic synthesis. Until 2002, CoQ10 use in Japan was limited to pharmaceuticals, which meant that the remainder was available for export to other countries for use in dietary supplement and skin care products. But in 2002, Japanese regulations were eased to allow CoQ10 to be used in supplements and skin care products sold domestically, resulting in a considerable drop in the quantities available for export. This coincided with publicity surrounding a scientific study that presented strong evidence that CoQ10 could help slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson's. With an increased consumer awareness of the ingredient, which slotted comfortably into the growing quest to find ways to promote energy levels and slow down the ageing process, the market for CoQ10 has seen a steady expansion over the years. GNPD data from 2006 indicated that CoQ10 was being used more dietary supplement products in the US, while in Europe it was used more in skin care products. Between September 2005 and May 2006, the database contained eight new dietary supplement entries in the US and just one in Europe (product variants not included). Conversely, ten new skin care entries were listed for Europe in the same nine months, against only three in the US.

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