Resveratrol is an antioxidant naturally found in grapes and red wine, mulberries, peanuts and 'knotweed' (polygonum cuspidatum). It has been shown to have positive anti-aging benefits, and has also demonstrated benefits in diabetes, heart health, obesity and some cancers.
These documented health benefits have generated significant interest in the ingredient from the supplements industry in particular.
However, there are signs that the market remains underdeveloped, with consumer awareness still low. Even a scan of market reports from the major market analysts revealed very little published data on the ingredient.
Nevertheless, statistics on new resveratrol-containing product launches provide some insight into were the market is, and where it is going.
Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics database tracked 93 new products launched globally between January 1, 2002, and September 2, 2009. The peak year for launches was 2007, which recorded 24 new products, compared to nine in 2006 and eight in 2005. In 2008 launches dipped to 18; in 2009 to date there have been 16 new product introductions.
“Looking at these numbers, it appears that resveratrol became more common mid-decade, though products containing the substance still tend to be uncommon. This would suggest that consumer awareness of resveratrol is still quite low,” said Tom Vierhile, director of Product Launch Analytics at Datamonitor.
A break-down of these data by category reveals that only 16 percent of all products noting or containing resveratrol since 2002 have been food or beverage products. Some 84 percent are non-food products, including supplements and cosmetics.
Dietary supplements are by far the most popular category for resveratrol, with 35 new product launches in the seven-year period. This compares to 29 cosmetics products and only 11 foods and beverages.
Out of the food and beverage product launches, four were in the ‘functional drinks’ category, three in ‘still wine’, two in ‘beverage concentrates’ and two in ‘chocolate’.
“The beverage industry is clearly more receptive to this ingredient than the food industry. In particular, functional beverages are far more popular than most other categories for resveratrol,” Vierhile told NutraIngredients.
“The only food categories that have used the ingredient (outside of beverages) were chocolate as well as nuts & seeds. Since the substance is not common in food, it is going to take time and money to educate consumers on the health benefits of resveratrol.”
“Though usage of it is on the rise, it does not look like resveratrol is on the sales fast track right now and I don’t see packaged food and beverage makers flocking to it right now.”
In contrast, the potential for resveratrol in supplements remains strong, according to market analyst predictions, with particular potential for condition-specific positioning.
“There remains significant scope for penetration in the supplements category,” said Sangeetha Srinivasan, program manager, Food & Beverage Ingredients Practice at Frost & Sullivan.
“Resveratrol is expected to benefit from the growth of the condition-specific products. In addition, consumer preference for natural products is likely to drive the use of resveratrol in supplements.”
In addition, a report on condition-specific products published at the end of last year by Packaged Facts highlighted resveratrol – from moderate consumption of red wine – as being top of mind for consumers wishing to address heart disease via nutrition.
Geography and tons
Figures from Datamonitor reveal the vast majority of new products containing resveratrol come from the US, which accounted for 76.3 percent of all resveratrol-containing products since 2002. Europe accounted for 15.1 percent of all launches.
Frost & Sullivan said the European market for resveratrol was forecast to be around 2.0 tonnes in 2008, while the US market was forecast at 7.5 tonnes.
The latest sales figures available were for 2006, when the European market was worth €0.73m ($1.05m), and the US market was worth $2.4m (€1.7m).
More on resveratrol
In the coming days, NutraIngredients will publish articles examining the science behind resveratrol, as well as the regulatory framework and the supply for the ingredient.