Spotlight on eye health ingredients

11 Feb 2020

The market for eye health ingredients and products has been rising over the past few years, as an ageing global population has coincided with increased consumer interest in nutrition-based prevention of age-related conditions.

The market for eye health ingredients and products has been rising over the past few years, as an ageing global population has coincided with increased consumer interest in nutrition-based prevention of age-related conditions.

Spotlight on eye health ingredients
Natural ingredients for healthy eyes are in particularly high demand

While foods and supplements for joints, bones, muscles and cognitive health have taken off, so have those for eye health, albeit on a smaller scale. According to a report from Global Market Insights (GMI), supplements intended for eye health accounted for 4% of the market in 2016, and it predicts that ingredients from natural sources will grow at about 6% a year to 2024.

The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are commonly used in eye health products as they are present in the inner part of the retina (the macula) and protect the eye from UV damage. However, there are hundreds of other carotenoids found in nature, and although they are not found in the eye itself, studies suggest they could be beneficial for eye health too.

Companies like OmniActive Health Technologies, Kemin and DSM are focused on the role of carotenoids for eye health, and lutein and zeaxanthin in particular, while Lycored touts the benefits of its lycopene carotenoid ingredient, derived from tomatoes. Algatech says its astaxanthin ingredient, a carotenoid from algae, supports eye health and is suitable for use in a range of supplement formats, as well as in functional foods and beverages.

Other popular ingredients include vitamin A, which has been shown to have potential in preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and bilberry extracts, which are commonly thought to improve night vision and improve retinal health, although clinical evidence is lacking. Still, the latter’s natural credentials have contributed to strong growth and this looks set to continue – as long as suppliers can compete with other ingredients on cost.

Pharmactive Biotech Products supplies a saffron extract that it claims increased blood flow to the eyes and protects retinal cells from damage, a factor in the development of glaucoma. Some studies have also suggested that omega-3 fatty acids could be beneficial for eye health, although more research is needed.

According to GMI, the United States accounts for most new product launches in the eye health category – about 45% of the global total – due to the general popularity of dietary supplements in the US market. Europe accounts for about 26% of new introductions, but the Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing, and the eye health market there is expected to accelerate, especially on the back of increasing disposable income and interest in healthy lifestyles in China, Japan and India.

In the meantime, experts continue to recommend regular eye tests, adequate UV protection, not smoking (or quitting), exercising and eating a balanced diet as the most important measures to prevent age-related macular degeneration. However, nutrition-related options continue to appeal to consumers, many of whom are attracted by the idea of using their diet to prevent ill-health rather than waiting for health conditions to develop before seeking treatment.

Related news

UPDATED Timeline: Impacts of COVID-19 on the global food industry

UPDATED Timeline: Impacts of COVID-19 on the global food industry

18 May 2020

The number of people affected by Covid-19 continues to climb, with confirmed cases surpassing 4.8 million and the number of deaths at nearly 317,000 worldwide as of May 18.

Read more 
Exploring different approaches to lactose-free dairy

Exploring different approaches to lactose-free dairy

17 May 2020

Demand for lactose-free dairy is on the rise around the world, and manufacturers have several options available to them to tap into this growing trend.

Read more 
What’s the latest for insect protein?

What’s the latest for insect protein?

16 May 2020

Products developed with a range of novel and alternative proteins have been in the spotlight for several years now – and arguably none are as divisive as those made with protein derived from insects. Here we examine the latest developments in the insec...

Read more 
Relaxation ingredients provide energy-boosting promise

Relaxation ingredients provide energy-boosting promise

10 May 2020

Relaxation drinks have emerged as the antithesis of energy drinks – but their potential to improve sleep and reduce stress has provided them with a niche that complements the energy sector.

Read more 
Plant-based trend boosts demand for hydrocolloids

Plant-based trend boosts demand for hydrocolloids

9 May 2020

Alongside taste, texture is one of the most important attributes in new product development, and the growing market trend for plant-based foods and beverages has boosted demand for the texturizing properties of various hydrocolloids.

Read more 
Are chickpeas the next big thing in plant protein?

Are chickpeas the next big thing in plant protein?

3 May 2020

Chickpea protein looks set to take off, as plant protein specialists look beyond the most commonly used options for meat analogues and more.

Read more 
The shifting global market for digestive health

The shifting global market for digestive health

2 May 2020

Maintaining digestive health is a major focus for consumers, and related claims on foods, beverages and supplements continue to grow worldwide. What are the main areas of focus for global manufacturers?

Read more 
Collagen ingredients enter the mainstream

Collagen ingredients enter the mainstream

26 Apr 2020

Food, beverage and supplement manufacturers are bringing collagen into more mainstream products, with an increasing number featuring protein, skin and joint health claims. Are collagen-fortified products here to stay?

Read more 
Covid-19: International dairy sector under pressure

Covid-19: International dairy sector under pressure

25 Apr 2020

The novel coronavirus crisis has shaken the entire food and beverage industry, but the dairy sector has been particularly hard hit as demand for many dairy products has evaporated. What happens next for the dairy industry?

Read more 
Cocoa and chocolate companies brace for Covid-19 impact

Cocoa and chocolate companies brace for Covid-19 impact

19 Apr 2020

Chocolate is a source of indulgence for many consumers as they stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has helped to offset lower demand overall – but the cocoa and chocolate sector as a whole is preparing for wider disruption.

Read more