Food Intolerance as Infinity Zone for Future CHC Growth

The parents of a 15-year old who died in 2016 from anaphylaxis have set up a groundbreaking £2.2mn (US$2.7mn) oral immunotherapy trial focusing on children and young people with milk and peanut allergies. The 3-year oral immunotherapy (OIT) trial is the first major study funded by The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, a charity set up by Natasha’s parents. The aim is to prove that everyday foods containing peanut or milk, which when taken carefully according to a standardised protocol under medical supervision, can be used as an alternative to expensive pharmaceuticals to desensitise patients. “This project presents a unique opportunity to establish immunotherapy as a practical treatment that will allow people with food allergies to live a normal life,” said Professor Hasan Arshad from the University of Southampton, which is leading the trial in collaboration with partner universities and clinical allergy centres.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: Anyone who has attended one of my recent Global Trends presentations will know that I am passionate about “The Future Resumed”, picking up the Infinity Zones from the CHC New Paradigms report I co-wrote in 2019. These are as attractive today as they were then, with just a two-year delay in progress caused by Covid-19. One of the most exciting prospects is what we now call Health through Digestion, a broader category than just gut health, and stimulated by fairly new research proving that probiotics can assist the vital work of the gut-brain axis and deliver benefits to other parts of the human body. Conversely, food allergy and intolerance can have a negative influence on other parts of the body, which is why it is surprising that the CHC market for these conditions is so poorly developed.

When I reach this part in The Future Resumed presentation, I refer to a number of high-profile deaths of mainly young people, such as Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who inadvertently ate unlabelled foods with what for them were toxic substances. These are extreme examples, of course, and most of us will experience very mild side-effects, but let’s not forget that almost every person on this planet has at least one form of food allergy or intolerance.

Preventing or treating this widespread condition divides into three parts:

  1. Diagnosis, which will tell us the foods and drinks to which we are allergic or intolerant. At the moment this is a clinical procedure, but there is no reason why consumer health products can’t take over and build a very successful early-stage franchise
  2. Prevention. The second part is to avoid eating the particular foods to which we are intolerant, or if that is impossible to take some form of preventive agent, such as Lactaid (J&J) or Beano (Prestige)
  3. Treatment. If prevention is not possible – and often it isn’t as we just don’t know what is included in restaurant and fast foods – there will be very high demand for treatment products. Indeed, along with products for sleep and mood, this is the greatest area of unmet consumer demand in CHC

I strongly believe that most of this market will roll out in the consumer sector, but our industry seems shy of investing in the necessary R&D and clinical work and unwilling to build successful brands in what could be a US$10bn market in 10 years’ time.

Our newly-published 2022 edition of CHC Yearbook offers a comprehensive overview of leading markets and companies, global retailing and category and brand reviews. To order your copy, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Food intolerance category shows huge promise

otcinaction

For the next instalment in our series of blogs on Nicholas Hall’s Infinity Zones for future CHC growth, we take a closer look at the growing issue of food intolerance, driven by unhealthy eating and the rise of processed food with additives, as well as changing diets across the world. Currently a driver of GIs growth, food intolerance has the potential to break out and become its own OTC category, and Nicholas Hall is urging CHC companies to seize this huge opportunity in the face of any future competition that might come from mainstream food companies, as was the case with functional foods.

A 2016 Nielsen study showed a high prevalence of food intolerance across various regions – the percentage of those who say someone in their household has food intolerances / allergies was 22% in Europe, 31% in North America, 34% in Latin America and 42% in Asia-Pacific, with children more likely to suffer than adults. Food intolerances (lactose, cruciferous vegetables, gluten, fructose, etc) can cause a variety of challenging symptoms for those affected, and new product development is catering for this fast-growing market.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-28-at-8.12.39-pm

Lactose intolerance is the most established niche, with lactase supplements (an enzyme that helps digest lactose) generating sales of roughly $65mn in 2018. Lactase supplements are fairly well-established in North America and Europe, with J&J’s Lactaid a key brand in the USA, while Latin America – especially Brazil – remains a current hotbed of innovation. Other intolerances are also increasingly being catered for with new products such as GluteoStop (Ineo Pharma) in Germany / Switzerland and Glutenam (Named) in Italy for glucose intolerance, and Fructaid (Pro Natura) in Germany for fructose intolerance.

Marketers of diagnostics and probiotics have also recognised the potential of this category. Lykon has launched MyNutrition 100 in Germany and UK (retailing for between $110-125), an at-home kit positioned to test for food intolerance across the 100 most common foods, while Montefarmaco extended probiotic brand Lactoflorene in Italy in 2019 with Lactoflorene Digest, claimed to promote the balance of intestinal flora that can be compromised by digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil in more detail the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.