Maxinutrition targets women with cherry extracts

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Antioxidant

Maxinutrition targets women with cherry extracts
Maximuscle has launched new sports tablets for women that incorporate a functional cherry ingredient, as the firm seeks to broaden its appeal.

Simon Jurkiw, research and education manager at Maximuscle told Leatherhead Food Research’s recent ‘Food for Sport’ conference: “Maximuscle did a massive study of around 500 consumers looking at drivers as to why they were or were not buying sports nutrition products, and what they were looking for.”

The feedback led Maximuscle to reform itself under parent firm Maxinutrition with a less macho focus.

Its newly launched Finesse Active tablets each contain 40mg of anthocyanins (free-radical busting antioxidant flavanoids) in a powder derived from Montmorency cherries, and sold under the female-focused Maxitone brand.

According to Maxitone: “Finesse Active is fortified with all-natural research-supported Montmorency cherry extract, which regular takers report to reduce muscle soreness after exercise, boost immunity and aid restful sleep.”

Cherries are attracting ‘super food’ plaudits for their antioxidant activity, where the latest peer-reviewed article by Kuel et al (2010)​ found that 54 healthy runners who ran an average of 26km over 24 hours recorded a “significantly smaller increase” ​in after-race pain after drinking cherry juice for a week prior to the race, compared with the control group.

The launch also reflects a new departure for Maximuscle, which has traditionally targeted bodybuilders, gym devotees and enthusiasts for team sports such as rugby.

Top sports teams converted

Maxinutrition sources its cherry-based ingredient from Middlesex-based CherryActive, which sells its own cherry-derived products independently online, through Holland & Barrett, in gyms and to sports teams including Manchester United FC.

CherryActive md John Kerry told that the firm sells products containing 300m cherries a year across the UK, Ireland, South Africa and Asia, with the fruit picked and processed in Michigan, US, where the firm partners farmers.

Kerry claims CherryActive’s products are unique because of low pesticide use (where other firms spray fruit and reduce antioxidant levels), careful selection of saplings and longer than usual ripening times to heighten anthocyanin levels.

Said Kerry:“Some people think you can just use any old cherry juice, and our competitors either use a small quantity of cherry juice in their products or boil the hell out of the fruit and lose the benefits.

“We’re quite a niche brand at the moment, concentrating on health, well-being, fitness and sport, but the successful functional benefits of our products have not been replicated in scientific studies using any old cherry juice.”

Appearing in a supermarket near you?

But given the wider move within sports nutrition towards mainstream rather than niche products, could a CherryActive drink appear in major multiples soon in a ready-to-drink formulation?

According to CherryActive sports division spokesman Simon Warren: “Eventually it will, the problem is the price of our current product, the fact it comes from concentrate. A month’s supply costs £25.96, but retail is an area that I’m sure we’ll look into in future.

“Interest in cherry juice really took off during the past 3-4 years, driven by the many studies out there showing significant results for sports performance, where cherry juice speeds muscle recovery, meaning that you can train athletes harder.”

However, the CherryActive website also carries images of older people as apparent customers, and Warren agrees there is great potential for growth in this direction.

“The problem is that you can’t shout about health benefits, where ​[given the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA's) recent negative opinion​ on the health benefits of antioxidants] we have to be careful what we say.

“But our products do, for instance, help uric acid levels in older people – whom we count as customers – preventing the acid spikes that cause gout.”

Jurkiw also said that Maxinutrition was “very active”​ in R&D:“Traditionally very few companies in the sports and nutrition sector have undertaken research, but given the EFSAclimate regarding consumer health claims there is a greater onus to do so.”

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