The US-Israeli firm launched Cardiomato in the UK in February 2016 through Boots. Cardiomato, a supplement derived from tomatoes and featuring lycopene, phytosterols, phytoene, phytofluene, beta-carotene and tocopherols, won the Finished Heart Health Product of the year category at the NutraIngredients Awards in May.
“The [UK] launch went well, we’re increasing our presence in Boots, and we’re enjoying the relationship with Boots through our UK distributor. We see repeating sales that are growing in a steady way. The base is good,” said Golan Raz, senior vice president of Lycored's health and nutrition division.
“The next set of markets is the Scandinavian countries. We will be launching in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries hopefully some time in Q4 this year. And we are also working intensively with our partners in Spain and Italy on a product launch in 2017,” he added.
Raz said Lycored is also planning a new product launch in the UK in 2017, but declined to give further details. He said the firm’s UK education efforts would also begin in 2017.
No health claim bureaucracy
Lycored will focus on consumer and practitioner education and product development, instead of pursuing an EU health claim for Cardiomato.
Raz said the original plan was to work towards a health claim, but after observing the approach of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the lack of
success of others, Lycored has shifted focus.
“We’ve learned from companies larger than Lycored that have failed that it’s too much bureaucracy and very little product innovation. So strategically at this point we have decided not to go for a claim,” said Raz.
“By taking this decision, we’ve focused all of our energy and resources into the product itself, instead of doing regulatory applications. At the end of the day, people aren’t interested in claims – they’re interested in user experience. They want a good product.
“A claim is just a way to convince the consumer – it’s a marketing effort. Cardiomato is a wellness effort – we’ve focused our investment on the product itself, on education, and less on regulatory claims,” he added.
‘Knowledge is very basic’
Lycored’s market research suggested a significant education push was needed, said Raz.
“We did a survey back a few years ago, of physicians in the UK, where we were very very surprised at the results. We learned two things: one, they are much more open than we believed, in terms of the use of nutrition in their own practice in their clinics; and the other thing is they know less than we hoped.
“We ran another focus group recently, in which we asked a group of 30 individuals what they knew about carotenoids. And we learned they really know almost nothing.
"Although on a business-to-business level, the brands, suppliers and manufacturers all seem to be very fluent with the values of our world and the industry, when it comes to the consumer the knowledge is very very basic,” he added.
He said Lycored’s education efforts would not solely be a marketing exercise.
“This gives us the drive to invest more into work that is focused on education in the community. So as a result of that, under our programme Good In Bloom, which is a not-for-profit activity we do in various communities, we’ve focused part of the effort of the initiative into education in the community.”
Raz said Lycored will seek to educate pupils at schools about the importance of nutrition, particularly the beneficial molecules found in plants.