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Top Heart Health Ingredients and Trends, Today and Tomorrow

<p>Omega-3s, phytosterols and fiber lead the large heart health ingredient market, which reached US$1 billion in 2016.</p>

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a set of disorders of the heart and blood vessels supplying the heart and includes coronary heart disease (CHD) and cerebrovascular disease. Individuals who have suffered a CVD event and survive face a life of ischemic heart failure, increased risk of stroke and lower quality of life. In the United States, over the next five years, an annual average of more than 5 million costly hospitalization events per year are expected among Americans over the age of 55, making it the costliest disease condition in the United States, according to Frost & Sullivan. Furthermore, it is expected that there will be a cumulative total of 38.4 million CVD-attributed hospital events over the next five years (2016 to 2020) in the European Union among adults age 55 and older. Thus, each individual adult age 55 and older in the European Union has a one in four chance of experiencing a CVD-attributed event requiring formal and informal heath care services over the next five years.

Treating CVD is costly. The total expenditures of addressing medical events requiring a mix of formal and informal hospital services for all EU adults age 55 and older is expected to be €265.7 billion ($350.5 billion) after controlling for purchasing power parity across each country within the European Union. In the United States, expenditures on CHD-related hospital utilization, a subset of CVD, for all Americans over the age of 55 is expected to be a cumulative total of over $650 billion over the next five years. A significant portion of this cost is related to events that require expensive hospital care services, especially inpatient procedures and emergency room visits. This cost also includes treatment-specific pharmaceuticals, outpatient visits, and informal costs such post-treatment home/nursing care services. Furthermore, there are significant indirect costs of CVD on society including less productivity income for the state due to CVD-attributed deaths.

Clinical research shows several key food-based health ingredients may significant relative disease risk reduction. In turn, there are also likely significant economic benefits that could be realized from the daily use of these key heart health ingredients. And a significant number of consumers realize this. The market for heart health ingredients for dietary supplements in the United States and Europe generated revenue of over US$1 billion in 2016. Revenue is expected to increase at a 9.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2020, driven by increasing dietary supplement demand. Dietary approaches to lower the risk of CVD include consuming diets lower in saturated and trans fatty acids and higher in potentially beneficial ingredients such as phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, green tea, soy protein, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), folic acid, vitamin B12, selenium and so on. There are a significant number of ingredients that are clinically researched for potential heart health benefits. However, omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, beta-glucan and soy protein represent the proven or the “gold standard" ingredients in the market and their mechanism of action is typically related to reducing “bad" lipids such as triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, which are generally accepted biomarkers strongly correlated to heart disease risk.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that cannot be produced by the human body, hence considered essential fats. The recommended daily intake of omega-3 food supplement is highly variable and depends on the individual user’s health profile in terms of their cardiac function, blood pressure levels, blood triglyceride levels and other health parameters. This has made it difficult for regulators, specifically the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) and the U.S. FDA to set a standard dose size.

The global market for omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ingredients is estimated to be $2.09 billion in 2016 and is predicted to reach $2.18 billion by 2017 growing at a CAGR of 3.9 percent. Asia-Pacific is witnessed to be a higher potential market growing at a 4.6 percent CAGR through 2020, driven by increasing demand for omega-3 across end-application segments like dietary supplements and infant formula, and shifts by major manufacturers such as BASF, DSM and GC Rieber toward high fish oil concentrates (more than 65 percent omega-3 concentrate) manufacturing. High potent oil concentrates are expected to be a prospective growth opportunity.


Plant sterols and plant stanols, collectively termed “phytosterols," are naturally occurring substances primarily found as minor components of vegetable oils such as sunflower oil. In 2016, total revenue for phytosterol ingredients used in dietary supplements and functional foods was expected to be nearly $600 million globally. The phytosterol ingredients market is expected to grow at a healthy rate, considering the increasing incidence of CVD and that consumers prefer to consume functional foods along with therapeutic solutions to obtain better results. Of the many types of phytosterols, beta-sitosterol and campesterol are among the most abundant. A health claim for phytosterols has been approved in Europe as they have been shown to block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol, which helps to lower blood cholesterol. Phytosterols were first marketed in fortified margarine and have proven to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol at doses of about 2 g/d. The development of new food formats containing phytosterols, such as bread, cereals, beverages, yogurt and yogurt drinks, and low fat cheese, are important to spur continued market growth in the plant sterol area.

Dietary Fiber

The market for dietary fiber ingredients in the United States grew at a CAGR of 8.7 percent since 2010 and reached a total market size of over $400 million in 2016. The Institutes of Medicine (IOM) Adequate Intake (AI) guidelines recommend 14 g dietary fiber per 1,000 kcal consumed, approximately 25 g/day and 38 g/day for women and men aged 50 and under, respectively, and approximately 21 g/day and 28 g/day for women and men aged 51 and over, respectively. However, most servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains consumed in the American diet contain only 1 to 3 g of dietary fiber. Consequently and in contrast to recommendations, the average American consumes only 15 g of dietary fiber per day and, for those on a low-carbohydrate diet, total fiber intake may be less than 10 g/d.

With increasing awareness and the consequently increased demand for beneficial heart health supplements, the heart health ingredients market is expected to exhibit appreciable growth over the next decade. Furthermore, ingredients with qualified health claims and with relatively few suppliers tend to command the greatest premiums. Today, manufacturers are going the extra mile to manufacture heart health ingredients that have a strong scientific backing with a demonstrable mechanism of action to penetrate the market in an ethical manner. However, supplier quality and consistency, market saturation and a lack of product differentiation, and lower market exposure relative to domestic companies that have an established presence with major large-application customers that are content with their current suppliers are key entry barriers that must be considered for tomorrow’s growth. With breakthrough revolutions, such as nutrigenomics and cutting-edge digital technologies looking to disrupt the market, companies that recognize and plan for these mega trends are promised a huge growth opportunity potential in the future.

Learn more about heart health market data from Christopher Shanahan during the Nutrition for Heart Health workshop on Friday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 a.m. at SupplySide West 2017 in Las Vegas. This session is underwritten by Nicolas Hall and CompaniesJapan Bio Sciences Lab and Natec.

Hear Christopher Shanahan preview the session by listening to SupplySide West Podcast 32 Heart Health Ingredient market.

Christopher Shanahan is the global director of Frost & Sullivan’s ( visionary science research practice, with a specific focus on agriculture and nutrition. Since joining the firm in 2008, he assists and advises companies via impartial insight into the food ingredient and specialty chemical industries. Formerly a fellow and researcher at Ohio State University, Shanahan offers a firm understanding of econometric-based market analysis, behavioral economics and agbusiness statistical benefit-cost analysis. He has received acclaim for his research and insights in market trends in various professional journals, been cited by numerous media outlets, and spoken at various trade shows and conferences.

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