The end of the low-fat era
After intense scientific reviews and a few controversies, the US Department of Health and Human Services published the 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 at the end of 2015.
There are two remarkable changes in it.
First: added sugars are the bad guys and their intake should be limited, due to the growing evidence linking them to obesity and diabetes.
Second: the good name of fats is – at least partially- reinstated. While they were once considered the source of all evil in nutrition, and linked to obesity, high cholesterol, heart diseases and what not, it now turns out that not all of them are bad after all.
The low-fat era is coming to an end. Hello, low-sugar age.
And if we look at the finer print of the Guidelines there’s something for supplements too.
Along with the basic principle that “nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods,” the Guidelines say that “in some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts.”
Just two lines, but very important ones.
Indeed, for Duffy Mackay, ND, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, interviewed by Nutraingredients-usa.com, there is no doubt that this is a “recognition of dietary supplements as having a role to play in achieving optimal nutrition.”
In general, the Guidelines promote “healthy eating patterns” rather than specific diets. “Follow any diet you like” the Department of Health is basically saying, “as long as you limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, added sugars, sodium, and consume alcohol responsibly.”
People are ready to spend more to be healthy
And real people’s behavior is perfectly in tune with these recommendations, as it’s shown by a survey involving 11,000 US consumers, published by Deloitte this January. It’s called Capitalizing on the Shifting Consumer Food Value Equation, and its results give a crystal clear picture of where the market is going.
Over the last few years, the amount of money people spend on food has remained pretty much the same. What is changing is how they spend it. Taste, price and convenience (the “traditional drivers,” as Gallup’s survey calls them) are still important, but other factors such as health & wellness, safety, social impact, experience, and transparency (the evolving drivers) are becoming more and more important. And what’s even more interesting, is that the trend is driving all the segments of the market, regardless of age, location or income.
In this scenario, supplements companies can enjoy an almost unfair advantage. According to Michael Maslansky, a communication expert who coordinated a focus group at the 2015 annual symposium for the dietary supplement industry, although people are skeptical towards companies, “supplements users want to give supplements the benefit of the doubt. They want to believe that the supplements they take work, and that the companies they buy from are high-quality.”
If we put it all together, there are three takeaways.
First: we’re going towards a wider, more flexible approach to food. “Healthy eating” will be less about counting calories and more about knowing what is good for us and what is not.
Second: people are willing to spend more to be healthy, which no longer means simply low-fat, but it’s seen as a more holistic approach.
Third: consumers have a positive bias towards supplements, which official science sees as a valid nutritional backup.
Keep trust high and don’t lose momentum
If we consider all that, supplements companies have good reasons to be optimistic. The perfect wave is definitely here for them to ride, but they need to be smart about it and understand that all these changes are consumer-driven: they are in charge, and expect information about products to be available and backed by science.
Their trust is not unconditional, and if companies don’t want to lose it, issues such as clean labelling and safety and compliance with regulations need to be on the top of their agenda.
At Purextract®, our ingredients comply with the requirements of the Arrêté Plantes (decree on Plants) and of the European Regulation regarding food safety.
Finally, once passing under the yoke of quality, our active ingredients are supported by clinical studies. Their purity is at the service of bioavailability in the human body, their efficiency has been proved.
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