AT BOOTH #4274

Top 10 Predictions for 2008



A Test of Faith.

Let's face it, a lot of consumers rely on faith when taking supplements and functional foods. With GMPs and AERs now a reality, the next piece of the puzzle will be proving efficacy. Look for consumers to demand more proof behind the health products they buy. Some companies have already been successful at turning their science into marketing gold-way to go Danone!


Leveling the Playing Field.

The long-awaited Mitchell Report was released in mid-December, outing scores of Major League Baseball players who allegedly took illegal steroids. Players have been lambasted in the press for tainting America's national past time, ruining the spirit of fair competition, and sending the wrong message to kids. But don't think this will stop at steroids. The Mitchell Report will probably cause the public to take another hard look at dietary supplements too.


The Year of the Recall.

In a recent survey conducted among America's food editors, the pet food recall dominated the list of the top food stories for 2007, along with other recalls related to ground beef and peanut butter. Consumers have become increasingly skeptical about the safety of their food and they want answers. Throughout 2008 expect several initiatives to be put into motion with respect to the food supply.


Beneficial Bacteria, Bring it on!

Probiotics, while still a relatively small category, had a very good year in 2007, especially considering the raft of positive headlines in the mainstream media. From the New York Times to The Washington Post to U.S. News & World Report, the good news surrounding probiotics was everywhere. It looks like the category is heading for omega 3 status, and it is taking prebiotics with it.


Talking about Healthy Bowels.

Digestive health has become quite the conversation piece these days. As consumers become increasingly comfortable talking about their bowels, new tummy remedies once shrouded in secrecy will make themselves known. This could open up some new opportunities for old ingredients. Hello enzymes!


Greening the Business World.

Going green will be a major focus for companies this year, as the warnings about global warming become louder and clearer (turns out global warming is not a myth). Soon businesses will no longer have a choice when it comes to their carbon footprint-their "greening" efforts will become a necessary cost of doing business.


Getting Back to Nature.

Stemming the tide of global warming will also drive consumers back to nature when it comes to their food and supplement choices. They will be looking for more "natural" ingredients, which in turn will drive companies toward cleaner labels for products. Consumers simply want ingredients they can pronounce and don't have to worry about.


The Kids are not All Right.

Children are disgustingly unhealthy these days and it's all our fault. Too many companies are catering to families' hectic lives by offering them convenient but nutritionally empty foods. Now the nation's future is in jeopardy because kids are showing signs of "adult" health issues and diseases sometimes as early as their preteen years. Products for children will continue to undergo healthy transformations, but will it be enough to save the future?


Investing in Health.

A report released last October by the Milken Institute claims the annual impact of chronic disease on the U.S. economy is over $1 trillion. This study is the first to estimate the avoidable costs if a serious effort were made to improve Americans' health. Specifically, the study revealed seven chronic diseases-cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and mental illness-that have a total impact on the economy of $1.3 trillion annually. Of this amount, Milken researchers say $1.1 trillion represents the cost of lost productivity. Assuming modest improvements in preventing and treating disease, the report says the U.S. could avoid 40 million cases of chronic disease by 2023, as well as reduce the economic burden of disease by 27%, or $1.1 trillion annually. The environment for dietary supplements and functional foods is about to get a lot more hospitable.


No Longer #1.

The U.S. continues to fall on hard times, especially considering soaring fuel prices, a depressed housing market, and an ever-weakening dollar. On top of this, the country's future leaders-our children-continue to battle adult diseases and perform poorly when it comes to academics. Could these be early signs that America's days as the most powerful country in the world are numbered?

Let us know what you think.

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Rebecca Wright