"Uneven playing field": Valensa on fighting fraudulent natural products 


29 Mar 2018 --- Products making false health claims are a blight on the food industry, consumers and of course, manufactures. A case in point is the natural product of Saw Palmetto extract, where six suppliers of the natural drug were found to have “little-to-no actual Saw Palmetto extract,” according to scientists at Valensa International. NutritionInsight spoke to Umasudhan, CEO of Valensa, to gain a deeper insight into this issue, and how battling the fakes fits into the company’s ethical, centralized strategy.

The food industry should be mindful of what drives its consumers to buy specific products, engage with different brands and seek out certain ingredients. Innova Market Insights reports that the leading consumer trend for this year is in fact, Mindful choices.

Click to Enlarge
Umasudhan, CEO of Valensa

With this topping the top ten trends, consumers are far more educated about what they want to put in their body and most importantly, why. An Innova 2017 survey demonstrated that 7 in 10 consumers want to know and understand the ingredient list of products they buy, and consumers are increasingly looking to inherent health benefits from natural ingredients that reflect a “real” product.

Valensa offer “innovative, nature-based, clinically effective formulations for human health,” with their leading product being a Saw Palmetto product for men’s urinary tract health and prostate function normalization.

Authenticity and reputability of products making health claims, product purity, efficacy and compliance are all concerns of Valensa's, says Umasudhan.

Valensa responded to fraudulent claims on many Saw Palmetto ranges by offering a free analysis of any commercial grade ingredient claiming to be Saw Palmetto. They are also working with an external third-party laboratory to test the products.

“We had to do this, as we heard companies were selling products using only Saw Palmetto berry powder or, they were buying Saw Palmetto oil but then mixing it with palm oil or other cheap vegetables oils,” Umasudhan tells NutritionInsight.

“This is a scam, as the power of Saw Palmetto berries lies in its oil. The oil must be extracted from the ripened berries, and there must be a specific ratio of fatty acids. This ratio cannot be imitated. We offer this service to protect customers from fake or copycat Saw Palmetto products,” he adds.

Valensa has gone to extra lengths to create awareness on falsely advertised products, but in ramping up the traceability and of its Saw Palmetto supply chain:

“We harvest Saw Palmetto berries from the palms, some of which are 300 years old, that grow in Florida, in the wilderness and swamp areas. In the past, the harvesting process was quite unorganized but recently we have made efforts to step up regarding our supply chain programs.”

“We now have a more organized and structured approach that involves the whole supply chain – such as pickers and farmers – and making the whole process traceable, sustainable and ethical,” says Umasudhan.

Arguably, the engagement of companies that provide natural products that hold strong health claims is of growing importance. In light of mindful consumers that have a robust health halo, products that have effects on medical disorders but derive from natural sources are experiencing a spike in popularity. In this way, there is a degree of responsibility that Valensa, for example, engages with.

“Health, the natural space and clean label are all huge mega-trends now, with companies like Nestlé entering the scene. With the advent of the internet, consumers are taking their health into their own hands and seeking out their own health and nutritional products.”

“The industry has a long way to go in terms of catching up with this, but it is so important to bring evidence and science-based products to take up a larger share of the market. There are many challenges with scams that work their way in, unfortunately.”

To further aid their advancement in “uneven playing field” Valensa has partnerships with companies such as the American Botanical Council.

Aside from their Saw Palmetto range, the company target immune, joint and eye health and are expanding their research of products utilizing microalgae.

The consistency of front-of-pack health claims aligning with the products actual effects on health is a journey for the food industry to continue following, to avoid leaving consumers feeling ill-informed and misled.

By Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Weekly Roundup: US researchers granted Danisco Foundation Science Award, polyphenol-rich extract may improve declining senior cognition

19 Oct 2018 --- This week in nutrition, a study found that grape-blueberry extract may improve cognition in at-risk older adults. Pet medication and wellness company PetIQ completed its acquisition of pet supplement manufacturer HBH. The Danisco Foundation awarded two Science Excellence Awards for 2018 and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Botanical Raw Materials Committee launched a Sustainability Subcommittee. To mark its 40th “ruby” anniversary, plant-based ingredients company BI will be showcasing “ruby” colored beverages at SupplySide West 2018, in Las Vegas.

Health & Nutrition News

Krill harvesting: Aker BioMarine to build new support vessel in China

18 Oct 2018 --- Aker BioMarine is set to build its newest support vessel in China. After signing a memorandum of understanding with representatives from the China Overseas Development Association (CODA), Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine noted: “This is the beginning of a unique collaboration bringing together innovative technologies and high-tech competencies from both Norwegian and Chinese companies.”

Packaging & Technology News

Tetra Pak: Plant-based, water, liquid nutrition and cheese categories set for growth

18 Oct 2018 --- Population growth, enhanced connectivity and demand for sustainability are all key market dynamics motivating Tetra Pak’s trend predictions. At the company’s recent event, Inside Tetra Pak, held in Lund, Sweden, the company offered insights into how such dynamics are shaping interest in plant-based beverages, water, cheese and food supplement nutrition. These trends will continue to grow, the company noted, and Tetra Pak can offer ideal packaging and processing solutions to support NPD.

Health & Nutrition News

Ashwagandha: Rooted in tradition, set for sky-high NPD growth 

18 Oct 2018 --- Boosted by growing consumer demand for natural remedies to fight the daily stresses of modern life, the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha is seeing an impressive uptake in usage. Innova Market Insights data has shown an increase of 48 percent in the number of food and beverage launches globally in 2018 (year to date) relative to 2015, and the adaptogenic herb’s market potential has not gone unnoticed by suppliers, with both Arjuna Natural and Sabinsa announcing the launch of ashwagandha ingredients this autumn.

Health & Nutrition News

Untapped dairy opportunity? NZMP eyes protein and nutritional benefits in Southeast Asia  

16 Oct 2018 --- NZMP, Fonterra’s global B2B ingredients brand, is seeing increasing interest in dairy ingredients in South and Southeast Asia owing to their applicability in formats as wide-ranging as medical nutrition, protein fortification and sports nutrition. As consumer knowledge grows, so do the opportunities for new product development, Fonterra’s General Manager of NZMP Ingredients for South & East Asia, Hamish Gowans, tells NutritionInsight.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/Uneven-playing-field-Valensa-on-fighting-fraudulent-products.html?tracking=Videos%20-%20Articles%20On%20NutritionInsight&type=News&NewTracking=Videos