A Kiwi plant-based weight management supplement eight years and $20 million in the making went on sale today and will launch next month in the US.
Cal-curb chief executive Sarah Kennedy said calocurb, which was designed to help manage food cravings and support portion control at meal times, was a "game-changer".
Plant & Food Research had received a $20 million Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment grant in 2010, spread over a number of years, and had worked for eight years on the project, screening more than 900 plants to find the most effective, all-natural bitter compound," Kennedy said.
"A specific New Zealand hops flower extract came out on top and progressed through clinical testing to become Amarasate – the active ingredient in calocurb," she said.
"The science behind calocurb is really a story about old meets new. We have long known that bitter compounds can support a feeling of fullness or satiety, and now calocurb's patented capsule delivers our bitter hop extract right to where it's most effective."
Calocurb, which is licensed by cal-curb, went on sale in New Zealand today and would launch in the US on May 8, after which the company would look at other countries such as China, South Korea and Japan.
"Obviously we wanted to launch in New Zealand first because this is our home market and the science was done here, New Zealand scientists, and we want to celebrate that."
The weight control supplements market was worth US$2.1 billion in the US and $20m in New Zealand, Kennedy said.
Auckland-based cal-curb is a subsidiary of 40-year-old New Zealand plant-based natural health products firm Lifestream International.
Kennedy, a 25-year veteran in the health and wellbeing industry, described most weight management supplements as one of three types - fillers, metabolic stimulants and laxatives.
"Calocurb sits apart from these and represents a real breakthrough in the category. It supports appetite, overeating and hunger management without the twitchiness and bloating of other products."
Kennedy said that feedback from pre-launch trialists had been extremely positive.
"There are no magic pills out there, but we believe calocurb helps people to feel confident about staying in control of their food choices."