The ingredient, which has been under development for a number of years, is not meant to be used by manufacturers to make a magic pill to wipe out gluten, emphasized Thierry Garrier, DSM’s director of marketing for dietary supplements in North America.
“It’s meant to be taken just when you start a meal,” Garrier told NutraIngredients-USA. “The product starts working immediately and out in vitro data shows that within ten minutes the product delivers most of its capacity to deal with gluten. It’s not a magic bullet to handle any amount of gluten. It is really a product designed for consumers who are trying to follow a gluten-free diet,” he said.
Garrier said that DSM’s research showed a need for a product that could offer consumers in this category an extra bulwark of protection against gluten exposure, and to give them a little more flexibility in how they managed their food intake.
“For consumers who are gluten insensitive, it is unfortunately a very difficult condition to manage. The fear they have in social occasions such as dinner at a friend’s place is that they could be exposed to gluten without realizing it. Even in a restaurant that offers gluten free choices, there is always a risk of cross contamination,” Garrier said.
Market size difficult to establish
Garrier said that DSM is careful to distinguish gluten sensitivity from outright celiac disease. The latter is an established autoimmune disorder, while the former is a bit more difficult to pin down and is often self diagnosed by consumers.
“What is important for us to communicate is that this is not a free pass to eat lasagne or wheat bread. This is to reassure consumers who might be concerned if there is a residual amount of gluten in a product or in a meal,” he said.
It has been noted in the past that the popularity of gluten free products far outstrips what could be expected if only patients with an actual celiac disease diagnosis bought them. Garrier said recent research shows that the gluten free category can expect to see strong double digit growth for the foreseeable future, but that the many reasons that consumers give for choosing gluten free, including that they believe it is simply healthier, makes the exact size of the opportunity for Tolerase G difficult to determine.
“We don’t know the size of the market. But we do think it is a market that is burgeoning and we think it can still grow quite a bit,” he said.