The global functional food market has been steadily growing in recent years and manufacturers have become increasingly more innovative with the ingredients they include to entice consumers. A new ingredient that more brands are seeing an opportunity in is vitamin K2. According to new research from Mintel, new product launches containing vitamin K2 have almost doubled (+183%) globally over the past five years (2008–2012).
In comparison to vitamin K1, which is rapidly cleared from the blood, vitamin K2 has a longer half-life of up to 72 hours, meaning it remains biologically active in the body for longer. Vitamin K2 is also absorbed better by the body compared with vitamin K1, according to Laura Jones, global food science analyst at Mintel.
Within recent food and drink launches containing vitamin K2, the most active categories are vitamins and dietary supplements, which accounted for the majority (76%) of new product launches globally in 2012, followed by baby formula (6%), beverage mixes (6%), flavored milk (6%), and soy based drinks (6%).
This year (January-August 2013), while vitamins and dietary supplements are still the most popular launches with K2 (58%), Mintel research has recorded a higher penetration of soy based drinks (25%), drinking yogurts and cultured milk (8% respectively).
“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. 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,” Laura Jones adds.[Source: Research conducted by Mintel. 5 Sept. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.]