Launches of food and drinks with Vitamin K2 almost doubles worldwide

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th September 2013

As the global functional food market has been steadily increasing in recent years, new food and drink products containing Vitamin K2 have almost doubled (183 per cent) globally in the five years to 2012, according to global market research organisation Mintel.

Comparatively, the better known form of Vitamin K, Vitamin K1, posted a healthy but slower growth (90 per cent) over the same review period, according to Mintel. Looking at all food, drink, vitamin and supplements launched globally containing either Vitamin K1 or K2, Vitamin K1 was used in 96 per cent of products, with Vitamin K2 appearing in the remaining 4 per cent.

“Vitamin K1 has a relatively short half-life and is rapidly cleared from the blood and is cleared by the liver within eight hours,” said Laura Jones, Global Food Science Analyst at Mintel. “In comparison, Vitamin K2 has a longer half-life of up to 72 hours, meaning it remains biologically active in the body for longer,” she said.

“Vitamin K2 is also absorbed better by the body compared with Vitamin K1. These factors, along with the additional health benefits linked to Vitamin K2, should encourage the use of Vitamin K2 over K1 when trying to correct Vitamin K deficiency,” Ms Jones said.

Vitamins, supplements and beverage categories most active

Within recent food and drink launches containing Vitamin K2, the most active categories were vitamins and dietary supplements, which accounted for the majority (76 per cent) of new product launches globally in 2012, according to Mintel. Baby formula (6 per cent), beverage mixes (6 per cent), flavoured milk (6 per cent) and soy based drinks (6 per cent) were also categories that saw launches of products containing Vitamin K2 in 2012.

Mintel said that so far in 2013, vitamins and dietary supplemented remained the most popular launches with Vitamin K2 (58 per cent), but that it had recorded a higher penetration of soy-based drinks (25 per cent), drinking yoghurts and cultured milk (8 per cent).

“Vitamins and supplements continue to be the largest category in which Vitamin K2 is used. However, ongoing research and ingredient companies’ promotion of Vitamin K2 as a health ingredient will likely assist its uptake in more food and beverages,” Ms Jones said.

“And while Vitamin K2 has been traditionally associated with cardiovascular and bone health, its role could extend beyond these features with its growing list of health benefits, such as a role in sports nutrition and possibly in the prevention of cancer,” Ms Jones said.

Increase in cardiovascular and bone health claims

Overall, Mintel said the use of cardiovascular and bone health claims was growing globally, with food and drink products holding bone health claims almost tripling in the five years to the end of 2012 (330 per cent). Cardiovascular claims posted a 66 per cent growth between 2009 and 2012, according to Mintel.

“This demonstrates recent interest in products targeting a global ageing population,” Ms Jones said. “Increasing incidence of cardiovascular and osteoporosis issues, will mean bone and cardiovascular claims will continue to be a key focus for functional foods and supplements, with women in particular being the main target for bone health products, due to their higher incidence of osteoporosis,” she said.

According to Mintel, the various health benefits of Vitamin K could appeal to a considerable number of consumers. According to Mintel’s research, over a third (35 per cent) of UK consumers said they bought functional food and drink products to maintain a healthy heart, and almost a quarter (24 per cent) to lower blood pressure or cholesterol.

“The main bone health ingredients will continue to be calcium and Vitamin D, but as consumers’ awareness of Vitamin K2 increases, its prevalence in food and supplements making a bone health claim will increase,” Ms Jones said. “Effective cardiovascular ingredients will be sought after too, and Vitamin K2’s potential in cardiovascular health should be highlighted,” she said.

Vitamin K2 is good for heart health