Manufacturers need something new to say about soy protein in order to revitalise the market as volume growth starts to plateau, according to soy giant Solae.
While some markets were still seeing good growth as consumers bought into the free-from, cholesterol-lowering and general health positioning of soy, the recent massive growth in new product launches had started to tail off in the EU, said Yves Goemans, Solae legal counsel, Europe. "The number of new soy products in the EU rose rapidly between 2003 and 2005 (from 51 to 193 new launches), but things have started to slow down since then, with 147 new launches in 2006 and 150 in 2007. I think the market needs a new story to refresh things every six months or so."
Weight management presented an opportunity as the cholesterol-reduction market was becoming saturated, he claimed. "Obesity will become the most important driver of product development."
Manufacturers were hoping several soy-related claims would gain approval under article 13 of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation in 2010, said Goemans.
These covered cardiovascular claims (cholesterol management and soy protein, keeping arteries healthy and protection from oxidative damage); soy isoflavones and bone health and the menopause; and generic claims about protein in weight management (satiety effects) and protein and bone health.