The world's biggest food company, known for KitKat candy bars and Nespresso capsules, says it has identified how an enzyme in charge of regulating metabolism can be stimulated by a compound called C13, a potential first step in developing a way to mimic the fat-burning effect of exercise. The findings were published in the science journal Chemistry & Biology in July.
While any slimming smoothies or snack bars are a long way off, eight scientists at the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland, are looking for natural substances that can act as triggers. Nestle's commitment to this type of project illustrates how the company is working to address consumers' disenchantment with packaged food by formulating products that can do more than sate hunger.
"The border between food and pharma will narrow in the coming years," said Jean-Philippe Bertschy, an analyst at Bank Vontobel AG in Zurich. "Companies with a diversified, healthy food portfolio will emerge as the winners."
The numbers already point that way. Consumers' appetite for food perceived to bring a health benefit, such as gluten-free pasta and organic juice, is forecast to outpace growth in traditional packaged food through 2019 after doing so almost every year in the past decade, according to research firm Euromonitor International.