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Marketing Functional Foods: What Have We Learned? An Examination of the Metamucil , Benefit , and Heartwise Introductions as Cholesterol-Reducing Ready-to-Eat Cereals

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Abstract

Health claims, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory actions, and marketing practices are examined in the environment precipitating the introduction of the Nutrition and Labeling Education Act (NLEA) in 1990. The introduction of three psyllium-based products in 1989 and 1990, Procter & Gamble's Metamucil wafers, General Mills' Benefit cereal, and Kellogg's Heartwise cereal, are examined for their use of health claims and marketing tactics in a changing regulatory environment. Inconsistent approval of psyllium-based health claims for drug and food products created a confusing environment in the pre- and early post-NLEA era. This was exacerbated by marketing issues regarding consumer communication and product positioning. Suggestions for marketing products with health positionings in the new NLEA environment are proposed.

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... Recently, psyllium has been widely recognized for its safe and cholesterol-lowering effects, effective laxative activity, and insulin sensitivity improvement capacity (Anderson et al., 2000;Song, Sawamura, Ikeda, Igawa, & Yamori, 2000). A few food products have been developed using psyllium as a bioactive component and marketed for cholesterol-reducing effects (Childs, 1999), since there is a significant population, including more than 60 million adult Americans, who still need cholesterol-lowering dietary treatment to reduce both total serum and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (Aygustin & Dwyer, 1999;Jensen, Spiller, Gates, Miller, & Whittam, 1993). However, it is a real challenge to incorporate the required amount of psyllium in one serving of a food product for the cholesterol-lowering claim on the label, as required by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States (Childs, 1999;Yu et al., 2001). ...
... A few food products have been developed using psyllium as a bioactive component and marketed for cholesterol-reducing effects (Childs, 1999), since there is a significant population, including more than 60 million adult Americans, who still need cholesterol-lowering dietary treatment to reduce both total serum and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (Aygustin & Dwyer, 1999;Jensen, Spiller, Gates, Miller, & Whittam, 1993). However, it is a real challenge to incorporate the required amount of psyllium in one serving of a food product for the cholesterol-lowering claim on the label, as required by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States (Childs, 1999;Yu et al., 2001). This is mainly due to the extremely strong gelling and water-absorbing abilities of psyllium. ...
Article
Psyllium husks were treated with a commercial food-grade polysaccharidase mixture, under solid-state reaction conditions, to improve water-absorbing and gelling properties. The modified psyllium preparations were analyzed and compared to the original psyllium and the control, treated with no enzyme under the same reaction conditions, for their water-absorbing ability, gelling properties, fibre contents, and surface structures. The water-absorbing ability was determined by a gravimetric method, while the gelling property of the modified psyllium was measured using a texture analyzer. The results showed that the solid-state enzymatic modification was able to significantly reduce both water-absorbing and gelling abilities of psyllium. Compared to the control, reductions of 49% in water-absorbing ability, 71% in gel hardness, and 35% in gel adhesiveness were observed for the novel psyllium preparation that was treated with the enzyme mixture at a level of 36 units/g psyllium. The surface structure of the modified psyllium was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM results showed that the enzymatic modification decreased the total surface area. This may contribute to the reduced water-absorbing ability of the modified psyllium. This study demonstrated the potential of preparing novel psyllium preparations, using a solid-state enzymatic method, for commercial food applications.
... The role of probiotic foods prompt to increase the quality of life of the elderly, who are rapidly growing consumers worldwide. The fundamental to innovation of functional foods is optimizing health by its nutrition beyond the traditional nutrients and focus on prevention of nutrient deficiency diseases [1][2][3][4]. However, the long-term success of functional foods in the market is depends on consumer acceptance and perceptions about these products [5][6][7]. ...
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The role of probiotic foods prompt to increase the quality of life of the elderly. Present study is an attempt to analyze the awareness about yoghurt by Indian elderly and their characteristics and socio-economic factors influencing the consumption of yoghurts through motivation. Therefore, understanding of the elderly consumers, their nutritional needs and preferences through knowing socio-economic status, dietary habits and morbidity pattern of different diseases were considered primarily important. In India, the familiarity of yoghurt is sparse, and elderly people often opt for natural and monotous type of foods, which has led to poor nutritional status and impaired general health. Eighty two percent in the current study reported that they were unaware of the probiotic yoghurt. Motivation through counseling is not one time job for encouraging elderly to consume yoghurt continuously but regular new way of conveying methods and remarkable health beneficial effects may affect their perception and consumption of yoghurts where economic level plays crucial role.
... The biggest obstacle that functional food products must face is the inconsistency of policies that strip away any credibility that functional food products brand. "Fundamental to the advancement of functional foods has been the evolution of scientific and consumer interest in the ability of nutrition to prevent chronic disease and optimize health, which goes beyond the traditional focus of prevention of nutrient deficiency-related diseases" [16][17][21][22]. This highlights the problem the FDA imposes on functional food products by over-generalizing them as simply a reducer of risk factors. ...
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ABSTRACT With the emergence of functional foods, it is vital to explore how the United States and its regulations on health claims affect the functional food industry. According to the Functional Food Center, the modern definition that classifies a functional food is as follows: “Natural or processed foods that contain known or unknown biologically-active compounds; which in defined, effective non-toxic amounts, provide a clinically proven and documented health benefit for the prevention, management, or treatment of chronic disease” [1-2]. Given the transparency of the definition, it provides a standardized perspective on the qualifications of a functional food, thus highlighting the nuances between the functional food definition and the regulations brought forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recently, both U.S. and European authorities have been examined for their strict policies on food labeling for health and nutrient claims. Food labels that promote nutrition and health claims have been heavily scrutinized in order for legislation to protect consumers from misleading information. Therefore, more scientific, research must provide empirical evidence prior to approving bold statements. More importantly, the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have similar regulations, but their differences create an interesting perspective for functional food products. At a glance, the future of functional foods appears to be at an advantage with the European Commission, mainly due to the interpretation of the regulations. It is important to note that the interpretation of regulations allows for functional food products to have a semblance of credibility. The biggest concern with the FDA regulations is how it limits the claims to solely mention the correlation to the reduction of diseases. This is a problem because functional foods have a higher capacity for disease treatment than what the regulation of health claims allow. Adding on to that issue, it compounds into an unfair situation of skepticism because this puts functional food products in an oversaturated market filled with less qualified products. A solution for the proper integration of functional food products is to have separate sections of regulations for both governing formats. This will allow consumers to be more educated and aware of the differences between functional food products and products with proposed health claims. Keywords: Functional food; regulation; health claims; FDA; EFSA
... The role of probiotic foods prompt to increase the quality of life of the elderly, who are rapidly growing consumers worldwide. The fundamental to innovation of functional foods is optimizing health by its nutrition beyond the traditional nutrients and focus on prevention of nutrient deficiency diseases [1][2][3][4]. However, the long-term success of functional foods in the market is depends on consumer acceptance and perceptions about these products [5][6][7]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The role of probiotic foods prompt to increase the quality of life of the elderly. Present study is an attempt to analyze the personal characteristic and socio-economic factors influencing the consumption of probiotic yoghurts. The objective of this study is to encourage consuming the probiotic yoghurt at least once in a day through motivation. Therefore, understanding of the elderly consumers, their nutritional needs, and preferences through knowing socio-economic status, dietary habits and morbidity pattern of different diseases is considered primarily important. In India, the familiarity of probiotic yoghurt is scanty, and elderly people often opt for natural and monotous type of foods, which has led to poor nutritional status and impaired general health. This suggests that Eighty two percent in the current study reported that they were unaware of the probiotic yoghurt. Motivation and counseling is not one time job for making elderly to consume yoghurt continuously but regular new way of conveying methods and remarkable health beneficial effects may win their guts where economic level plays crucial role.
... The expansion of the functional food industry can be attributed to numerous factors including innovations in food science and technology, an aging population with growing health concerns, an evolving regulatory environment allowing health claims on foods and increased marketing of functional food products [2][3][4][5]. Fundamental to the advancement of functional foods has been the evolution of scientific and consumer interest in the ability of nutrition to prevent chronic disease and optimize health, which goes beyond the traditional focus on prevention of nutrient deficiency diseases [2,3,6,7]. Functional foods exemplify this evolution in food and health as they have been demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions [8]. However, the long-term marketplace success of functional foods is dependent on consumer acceptance, and attitudes and perceptions related to these products [9][10][11]. ...
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Background The functional food industry has experienced innovative and economic expansion, yet research into consumer perceptions of functional foods and their associated health claims is limited. Among consumers, older adults could benefit from functional foods due to age-related issues pertaining to food and health. The purpose of this research was to identify the need for information related to functional foods among older adults (≥60 years old) and to assess awareness and perceptions of health claims on functional food packages. Methods Community-dwelling older adults (n = 200) completed a researcher administered questionnaire designed to collect information about functional foods including current consumption, motivating factors for consumption, perceived need for information, sources of information for functional foods and awareness of health claims. Results Prevalence of functional food consumption among participants was 93.0%. Increased awareness and knowledge was the most commonly reported factor that would promote functional food consumption (85.5%) and 63.5% of participants wanted more information about functional foods with preferred sources being newspapers/magazines/books (68.5%) and food labels (66.1%). Participants were predominately (93.5%) aware of health claims on functional foods and those with more education were more likely to report being aware of health claims (p = 0.045). Conclusions Although functional food consumption among older adults in this sample is high, there is a need for further information regarding functional foods. These results inform stakeholders regarding the potential for information to influence functional food acceptance among older adult consumers.
... Recently, psyllium has been recognized for its cholesterol-lowering effects, effective laxative activity, and insulin sensitivity improvement capacity (Anderson et al., 2000a,b;Song et al., 2000). A few food products have been developed using psyllium as a bioactive component and marketed for cholesterol-reducing effects (Childs, 1999;Aygustin and Dwyer, 1999;Jensen et al., 1993). ...
... Recently, psyllium has been recognized for its cholesterol-lowering effects, effective laxative activity, and insulin sensitivity improvement capacity (Anderson et al., 2000a,b;Song et al., 2000). A few food products have been developed using psyllium as a bioactive component and marketed for cholesterol-reducing effects (Childs, 1999;Aygustin and Dwyer, 1999;Jensen et al., 1993). ...
... Psyllium husks also significantly increases the level of stool moisture, as well as wet and dry stool weight [34]. Hypocholesterolemic Effect: In mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia, a reduction of serum cholesterol by approximately 5% has been re- ported [36] but the exact mechanism by which psyllium husk brings about a reduction of cholesterol is not totally clear. Animal studies have shown that psyllium increases the activity of cholesterol-7-a-hydroxylase (the rate-limiting enzyme in bile acid synthesis also referred to as cytochrome 7A [CYP7A]) more than twice that of cellulose or oat bran, but less than cholestyramine [37]. ...
Article
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The dietary fibers have positive effects on human health, both in the prevention and in treatment of chronic diseases.Isabgol husk (Plantago ovata) is a natural polymer of plant origin which is mainly composed of polysaccharide chainhaving (1>3) and (1>4)-ß– xylan system. It is used a bulk forming agent in constipation but due to some other beneficialeffects; it can also be used in colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia etc. Thepresent review represents the applicability of Isabgol husk for human ailments.
Chapter
Several studies have attempted to establish the relationship between nutraceuticals and/or functional foods and a healthier life and/or the prevention of certain diseases. Various countries and jurisdictions have regulatory requirements for the use of health claims on labels and the public advertisement of nutraceuticals and/or functional food products. This is aimed at product safety and to protect consumers from being misled by unsubstantiated claims of the benefits of foods and food products and miraculous cures meticulous scientific evaluation is needed to ensure that health claims made on food labeling and advertising are meaningful and accurate, and will help consumers in making informed choices. The perceived healthiness of functional foods and nutraceutical products is enhanced by the ability to make a health claim, and this is used as a marketing tool worldwide.
Chapter
Nutraceuticals and/or functional foods are a fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar global industry that has been expanding annually. This chapter provides an overview of nutraceuticals and functional foods, and discusses their classification and benefits. Bioactive components in functional food and nutraceutical products are naturally found in plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and microalgae, and their primary and secondary metabolites. When health benefits are proven, these natural food sources could serve as natural substitutes for synthetic pharmaceutical products for intervention purposes and to prevent potential adverse effects from the use of some pharmaceutical drugs. Epidemiological and clinical studies across multiple geographical locations have generally shown neutral or beneficial effects of the consumption of certain types of foods on health and wellness and reduction of risk factors for certain diseases. Further innovation and introduction of products with well-substantiated health claims are therefore anticipated in the coming decades.
Article
The functional food industry is expanding, yet research into consumer perceptions of functional foods is limited. Older adults could benefit from functional foods due to age-related food and health issues. This research gathered information about functional foods from community-dwelling older adults (n = 200) who completed a researcher-administered questionnaire about consumption, food matrices, bioactive ingredients, and health areas addressed through functional foods. Overall prevalence of functional food consumption was found to be 93.0%. Commonly consumed foods included yogurt with probiotics (56.0%), eggs with omega-3 fatty acids (37.0%), and bread with fiber (35.5%). Functional food matrices primarily consumed were yogurt (51.5%), bread (44.0%), and cereal (40.0%). The primary functional food bioactive consumed was dietary fiber (79.5%). Most participants (86.2%) indicated that they consume functional foods to improve health, and the major areas specified were osteoporosis/bone health (67.5%), heart disease (61.0%), and arthritis (55.0%). These results inform health professionals regarding the potential of functional foods to support health among older adults.
Article
Psyllium husks were treated with commercial food grade enzymes under solid-state reaction conditions to improve their water-absorbing and gelling properties. The modified psyllium preparations were analyzed and compared to the original psyllium and the control, treated with no enzyme under the same reaction condition, for their water-absorbing ability, gelling capacity, surface structures, and fiber contents. The results showed that the solid-state enzymatic modification was able to reduce both water-absorbing and gelling abilities of psyllium with a slight reduction in soluble fiber content. Scanning electron microscopy measurements showed that the enzymatic modification decreased the total surface area. This may contribute to the reduced water-absorbing ability of the modified psyllium. The solid-state enzymatic procedure requires neither special equipment nor additional steps to remove moisture after inactivating the enzymes and generates no chemical waste. This study demonstrated the potential of preparing novel psyllium preparations with improved gelling and water-absorbing properties using a solid-state enzymatic method for commercial food applications.
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We stand at the dawn of the next great period of natural products research. We now have tools to begin unraveling the chemical and physiological mechanisms by which these phytochemicals affect the function of living cells, both in plants and animals. The advances in analytical research will allow us to better use these compounds in the control of diseases in both plants and animals. This chapter used the analysis of soy isoflavones to illustrate the approaches to natural product research, but these principles can be applied to nearly any of the phenolic compounds found in plants.
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