“The demand has never been greater for vitamin D3 with a long shelf-life at room temperature and excellent stability in the final application,” said Santiago Vega, product manager, Human Nutrition, BASF Corporation, Florham Park, NJ. “Our customers are experiencing double-digit vitamin D sales increases escalating their needs for quality ingredients that meet the highest safety standards and regulatory requirements worldwide.”
According to Euromonitor, U.S. sales of single-entity vitamin D supplements (not including multi-vitamins) rose 22% percent from 2009 to 2010. A new report that appears in the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics’ Data Brief found that use of vitamin D supplements increased for men and women in most age groups.
“Secure supply is paramount in any situation, but it is especially important with vitamin D to meet the large demand for raw material with unsurpassed stability and content uniformity,” said Mr. Vega. “From dietary supplements to fortifying dairy products to foods for babies and children, we have oils and powders suitable for a wide range of applications.”
Mr. Vega explained that BASF offers its vitamin D customers traceability information through GTNet, available at any time anywhere in the world. BASF’s S.E.T. initiative also allows customers to measure sustainability throughout the entire value chain. “From raw material to the store shelf, we collaborate with our customers to create high quality products for their respective markets,” continued Mr. Vega.
About one-third of Americans are not getting enough Vitamin D, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other health conditions related to weak bones. This decline in vitamin D levels is due to aging, reduced sun exposure and weight conscious consumers limiting foods such as dairy products. As a result, physicians are finding more patients with low vitamin D test scores and are prescribing supplements.
Researchers have found that vitamin D3 is 87% more potent than D2 at raising blood levels. In a newly published study, the authors said, “Given its greater potency and lower cost, D3 should be the preferred treatment option when correcting vitamin D deficiency.”
Last year, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel increased the recommended daily intake for vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for individuals age one to 70 and to 800 IU for adults older than 70.
BASF has also witnessed growing demand for its expanded range of carotenoid colorants in foods and beverages. For years, manufacturers have relied on FD+C certified colors as safe, inexpensive, stable and easily applied ways to create bright and appealing foods and beverages. However, recent events in the U.S. and Europe have generated some negative attention for certified colors. For example, the U.S. FDA Food Color Advisory Panel hearings held in March resulted in widespread media coverage. The goal of the panel was to determine if there is sufficient evidence to prove that food dyes impact children’s behavior. While a U.S. warning label on food dyes was ruled out, the panel voted that certain children may be susceptible to them, and further research is necessary.
These events are causing a shift in public perception. According to a recent survey, 44% of consumers said they avoid food colors/dyes. Instead of waiting for more scientific findings and regulatory action, major food manufacturers are taking the initiative now. More than 90% of drink developers say they will be using at least some natural flavors/colors this year.
“The colorant landscape is changing, and manufacturers are asking for options,” said Dr. Joseph Moritz, product manager, Human Nutrition, BASF Corporation. “Our customers are designing premium products without certified dyes. Traditionally, BASF offered a wide range of nature-identical carotenoids in water dispersible powders for beverages and oils for foods. With the recent acquisition of Cognis’ portfolio of natural mixed carotenoids, we are now well-positioned to help our customers identify the colorant that best fits their needs—both natural and synthetic.”
“With our expanded technical capabilities, we can guide our customers in color creation and optimization, in addition to identifying valuable claims for their products,” said Dr. Holger Becker, global Betatene product manager.