Nutrition and Medical Products
A subcategory of medical nutrition, the enteral nutrition market in 2014 was valued at U.S. $11.3 billion, slightly smaller than the 0-6 month old infant formula segment which was valued at $14 billion. Enteral medical nutrition is becoming an attractive growth sector, given the aging global population and declining birth rates. (Euromonitor)
While enteral medical nutrition can be required through all stages of life, for example for post-operative recovery or during convalescence following an illness, growth in this category is driven largely through demand from seniors, who frequently require supplemental nutrition or total nutrition from these products as they age. Enteral medical nutrition is further distinguished from infant nutrition by the fact that the majority of enteral products are in the ready-to-drink format, rather than sold as a powder, as is the case with infant formula.
However, enteral and infant nutrition do share several features in common. For example, they both require formulation using protein of high nutritional quality, and as a result are frequently formulated with dairy proteins. Specifically, dairy proteins are known for their high branched chain amino acid composition and leading leucine content. The enteral nutrition category used to be predominantly based on caseinate but new products now mostly use milk protein concentrates and milk protein isolates. Casein use continues in lactose-free formulations. Increasingly, whey protein concentrates and whey protein isolates are also included in new products.
An analysis of enteral medical nutrition new product launches covering the period 2011-2012 showed that both MPC and WPC are fast growing ingredients in the enteral medical nutrition product category. In 2012, milk protein preparations (MPC, MPI and micellar casein) were the most frequently listed proteins (349), followed by caseinate (189). WPC/WPI occurred almost as frequently (165) as caseinate in oral and was the most common protein in tube feed products (129). In comparison, soy protein was listed 128 times but only as secondary protein. (Innova Market Insights, Industry Sources)