Saturday, April 13, 2024

Health and wellbeing: it starts at manufacturing

Health and wellbeing is not only a social trend but also a growing trend within retail as food manufacturers seek to create products that meet consumer needs.

Weight management is a concern for many Australians. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, two in three adults were overweight or obese between 2017 and 2018. And the issue isn’t confined to these shores.

“There is clear evidence that overweight and obesity is an issue increasing in size globally,” Maxum Foods Director Dustin Boughton said.

Awareness of weight issues and solutions is also on the rise, in part due to the popularity of social media, which often highlights the benefits of healthy living.

Mr Boughton says leading a healthy life is beneficial not only in terms of weight management, but psychologically as well.

“Improving health and wellbeing helps lead to several psychological and physiological benefits such as reducing the risk of major diseases and health issues,” he said.

“Looking after one’s health now helps to ensure we’re looking after not just our present but our future selves too.”

Despite weight management issues having been around for a significant amount of time, there is still a lot of work to do, and retailers and manufacturers can play an important role.

Health aisles are expanding in supermarkets due to the strong desire consumers have to stay healthy and maintain their weight goals.

Consuming products that make them feel fuller for longer has been a strategy used for a long time by those who wish to lose weight. Food manufacturers look to new and innovative ways to create products that can achieve this.

According to life sciences business OptiBiotix Health and ingredients supplier Maxum Foods, a new solution is now available: SlimBiome.

How does SlimBiome fit into the trend?

Formulated by leading UK universities and key opinion leaders in the fields of microbiome, functional food ingredients and weight management, SlimBiome offers a weight management system that utilises microbiome science, reducing food intake cravings by promoting the feeling of fullness and maintaining blood glucose levels.

“SlimBiome will enable health food manufacturers across Australia to answer consumer demands, deliver innovative products and ultimately take their share of this $320 million [weight management] market,” Mr Boughton said.

The ingredient can be manufactured into sachets, snack bars, shakes/meal replacements, bakery products, dairy products and breakfast cereals, “thus making several everyday products more functional [functional food is a trend in itself]”, he added.

“Individuals are living busier lives now more than ever,” Mr Boughton continued. “This makes convenience king and with so many convenience products lacking in nutritional value, taking on empty calories and overeating are becoming more common.

“There’s a known deficiency in adults for fibre. Introducing SlimBiome to products helps bridge the fibre gap by helping consumers get more in their diet in various ways.”

Ingredients for weight management

SlimBiome is an award-winning functional ingredient transforming the way weight loss is traditionally approached. The patented ingredient contains a blend of non-digestible prebiotics and dietary fibres to create a longer lasting feeling of fullness.

The ingredient is also said to help burn calories by promoting a healthy metabolism and maintain blood sugar levels to prevent overeating.

Ingredients that provide a hunger-free approach to weight loss, according to OptiBiotix Health, are:

  • Glucomannan – a natural, water-soluble dietary fibre that forms a gel-like mass in the stomach when hydrated to promote the feeling of fullness.
  • Chromium picolinate – a trace mineral that helps regulate and enhance the action of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Chicory root fibre – a prebiotic that enhances satiation and improves the diversity of the gut microbiome.

Mr Boughton says a vast number of studies have been carried out on the ingredients, supporting their health benefits.

SlimBiome is “supported and proven by science, as well as being able to make several health claims supported by EFSA [European Food Safety Authority],” he said.

Backed by many

OptiBiotix has now signed more than 20 deals around the world with those who wish to distribute SlimBiome.

Maxum Foods has signed a deal to manufacture and distribute the weight management technology in Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re pleased with the high industry interest in our award-winning technology and products,” OptiBiotix CEO Stephen O’Hara said.

“We believe that the development of products with strong science, independent clinical studies and key-opinion-leader endorsement will continue to convert the high interest in our products into rapidly growing revenue streams in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to confirming multiple successful partnerships, SlimBiome has won awards including Weight Management Ingredient of the Year at the NutraIngredients Awards in 2018 (Europe) and 2019 (Asia), and Best Functional Ingredient for Health & Wellbeing at Food Matters Live 2017 (Europe).

Mr Boughton says the ingredient also played a key role in a finished product winning The Grocer New Product Award in the UK.

Despite SlimBiome being relatively new, Mr Boughton sees a promising future for the ingredient.

“Working on various new concepts and including SlimBiome in new, on-trend applications in day-to-day products will help a wider net of consumers receive the benefits,” he said.

“There is growing interest for symbiotics [combining pro and prebiotics] for enhanced health benefits. As a prebiotic ingredient, SlimBiome may have a role here in the future.”

Getting to the gut of the issue

Numerous studies show that a healthy gut is the foundation of overall wellness, as a balanced, positive human microbiome is associated with vitality and healthy ageing. Consumers are now more educated on the benefits of a healthy gut, which is why the digestive wellness trend has exploded in 2019, Mr Boughton says.

He adds that consumers are acknowledging the link between digestive health and overall health, and are buying products that deliver digestive health benefits – no wonder, then, that products that address gut health are on the rise.

“We believe the driving interest in weight management technology falls under the wellness phenomenon that is sweeping the globe,” Mr Boughton said.

“Consumers are now dramatically more proactive when it comes to their health. They are taking greater control of their own lives, both physically and mentally, and choosing food and beverage products that help them to better achieve their desired lifestyle. Essentially, consumers want products that ‘help you help yourself’.”

SlimBiome enables food manufacturers to create products that target this digestive wellness trend and meet consumer needs at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Key attributes of SlimBiome

  • Heat stable in processing.
  • No distinguishable taste/odour.
  • Suitable for vegetarian/vegan diets.
  • Easily added during product manufacture.
  • Gluten free.
  • Non GMO.

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