The app will allow users to calculate their ‘UV budget’ using environmental information, including the current UV index, temperature and pollution levels and by entering personal information like skin type and the consumed amount of its grapefruit and rosemary extract NutroxSun.
Discussing the launch, head of global marketing Fernando Cartagena told us science was often used in advertisement of food supplements, but consumers were then left to make an “act of faith” in use of a product if health improvements could not be palpably tracked.
“In the end you just believe, you don’t see the impact [of the ingredient].”
This app looks to give consumers a more tangible sense of efficacy.
“We try to provide a tool so consumers can see for themselves.”
The company said the free app, which will be available globally to download from 30th September 2016, marked an “exciting new era in nutrition”.
Balancing the UV books
The app warns users when they have maxed out their ‘UV budget’, which can be ‘recharged’ by applying sunscreen or seeking shade.
Use of NutroxSun could also help buy consumers a bigger UV budget, of sometimes ten extra minutes in the sun, Cartagena said.
Asked if it was responsible to give this advice, he said the app it spent about €300-400,000 developing was based on clinical studies and tilted to the conservative side of guidance.
“We are not going to recommend something we don’t believe. For example, for people with very pale skin, we’re not recommending longer [in the sun].”
In the past skin cell studies and a human pilot trial has reported potential protective effects of the extracts against UV damage to the skin.
Last month, research using Nutroxsun suggested the combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) produced measurable differences in skin elasticity and wrinkles within two weeks.
Apps & claims
Nonetheless there are no approved health claims in the EU to this effect.
So could this advice constitute as an unauthorised claim?
Cartagena said he did not know if the app could be perceived in this way and there were no plans for a health claim application for this product.
“In the EU we will see how it goes. One step after another.”
He said the irony in the EU was that the Commission offered up generous sums to fund innovation, only to “kill innovation” by enforcing rules through institutions like the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Yet he added that Europe was just one market the company was targeting.
For example Health Canada has already approved three claims for NutroxSun for the skin’s response to small amounts of UV-induced oxidative stress, wrinkle depth reduction and increased skin elasticity and for providing antioxidants.
In September the app would be launched in partnership with an unnamed supplement brand in Singapore. The US and Japan were other markets of particular interest.
“At the beginning this will be most popular in Asia, where they are already using this product, then more shy markets in Europe will start to consider this as a more interesting option.”
Future apps for other ingredients could also be on the horizon, but this would need substantial internal or external investment.