Satiety products: manage expectations or new launches will fail, warn manufacturers

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Related tags: Nutrition, Eating

Products that make satiety-related claims based primarily on studies showing their effects on gut hormones rather than subjective assessments of...

Products that make satiety-related claims based primarily on studies showing their effects on gut hormones rather than subjective assessments of appetite or actual food intake are highly unlikely to succeed, Nestlé has claimed.Speaking at Leatherhead Food International's nutrition forum day, Dr Alison Eldridge from the food intake control group at Nestlé, said several products now on the market were making claims based on their effects on gut hormones such as CCK and GLP-1. But this was no guarantee of commercial success.

"I'd say you should use gut hormone data to support what can be measured through visual analogue scores and behavioural response rather than as the sole basis for a satiety claim. If people don't actually feel fuller, they won't buy your product again."

Even if products did make consumers feel immediately fuller, they still ran the risk of failure if this did not help them control or reduce their weight longer term, added Emily Tellers, product manager for Fabuless, the appetite-suppressing palm and oat oil emulsion from DSM "You could argue there's little point in short-term appetite suppression if it doesn't actually affect food intake long-term."

Campina has been very successful with a one-shot drink containing Fabuless called Optimel Control, which is now steaming ahead in Germany and notched up sales of euro 8.8M last year in the Netherlands, making it the third best-selling new product of 2007, according to IRI data. However, managing expectations remained key, said Campina health and nutrition manager Dr Jan Steijns: "If people think they'll feel so full they won't eat for days, they will be disappointed."

While the body of research into satiety was growing by the day, much of it was still dogged by errors including "faulty designs and inappropriate controls", claimed Dr David Mela, who heads up the Food & Health Research Institute at Unilever. In fact, "hardly any" products were supported by data robust enough to make claims under the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, he claimed.

Nevertheless, most experts predict generic claims about the satiating effects of proteins and fibres will gain approval under the Regulation, said Eldridge: "There is substantial evidence for fibre and protein on satiety."

However, Dr Susan Jebb from the UK's Medical Research Council, said: "The jury is still out on how significant satiety products will prove as there are so many other variables beyond hunger that determine what, when and how much we eat."

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