Medical gum firm Fertin Pharma has teamed with DSM to develop a Vision Gum in the ‘under-exploited’ eye health category.
Fertin launched the private label concept - containing lutein, zinc and vitamins - at nutraceutical trade fair Vitafoods earlier this month.
Company marketing manager Thomas Jahn told ConfectioneryNews that he saw a future for eye health products in developed markets.
“If you look at the US multivitamin market, there are a number of top ten products that are positioned as eye health products. I think it an area that is often understated in the industry, but it is a big thing, the same as teeth.”
Fertin’s Vision Gum contains lutein ingredient Floraglo by DSM as well as zinc and vitamins A, B2 and E.
Lutein to combat AMD
“There’s a lot of documentation on lutein for eye health, especially maintaining good vision but also to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”
AMD is an eye condition affecting the central retina and a key cause of vision loss in the elderly. It affects 4.8% of the UK population over 65 and 6.5% of the over 40s in America, according to Fertin.
Possible health claims
Some studies claim lutein decreases the risk of developing AMD, but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has said there is insufficient evidence to substantiate an EU health claim for ‘maintenance of normal vision’.
“However, because of the vitamins, there are some claims that we can use,” said Jahn.
Vitamins A and B2, as well as zinc, all have EU approved health claims for ‘maintenance of normal vision’.
“We’re not curing bad vision here, but we’re maintaining good vision, so it’s more of a preventative product,” said Jahn.
Two pieces a day ‘keeps glasses away’
But how often would a consumer need to chew Vision Gum to maintain good eye health?
“It’s the same as a multivitamin,” said Jahn. ”If you want to stay healthy you have to take it every day, but I mean it’s up to the individual. We recommend two pieces a day.”
“It’s a relatively new thing. I’m not aware of others that are combining gum with lutein.”
He said that the US was already a well-established eye-health market, but added that further potential existed in Europe because of the vitamin eye health claims.
Vision Gum is made with Fertin’s patented Medichew technology, a dry and cool manufacturing process that uses a powder base in order to ensure the release of active ingredients.