The Dutch firm said the powder can reduce glucose levels after meals and improve overall blood sugar levels, and is taking advantage of a gap in the market for improving the diet of diabetics. InsuVital is hydrolysed casein consisting of bioactive peptides which increase the bodies level of the hormone insulin which in turn lowers blood glucose levels. The importance of companies turning to natural ways to reduce diabetes is becoming all the more important as incidences of type-2 diabetes is climbing rapidly in Europe as the population becomes increasingly overweight. Researchers have warned of the impact on healthcare of the many side effects of obesity, including type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Diabetes has already increased by one-third during the 1990s, due to the prevalence of obesity and an ageing population. There are currently more than 194 million people with diabetes worldwide but if nothing is done to slow the epidemic, the number will exceed 333 million by 2025, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes is also having a massive effect on healthcare budgets. Currently, five to 10 per cent of the world's healthcare budget is spent on diabetes, and by 2025 this figure could reach 40 per cent in some countries if predictions of diabetes prevalence are fulfilled. Most of the economic costs of diabetes are attributable to the various complications linked to it, with up to two-thirds of people with diabetes in certain countries developing serious chronic complications. Business manager for metabolic syndrome and diabetes Erik Lommerde told NutraIngredients.com that the market is ready for food ingredients to help in cutting down the effects of type-2 diabetes. He said: "Right now everybody seems to be calling for a food ingredient, something less 'threatening' than a pharmaceutical," he said. "At the moment when people are first diagnosed with type two diabetes they are put onto a diet to control it. The success rate is less than 10 per cent. All that is available for the diet is light and low, things that are low in sugar." DSM's ingredient is aimed at filling that gap in the market, Eric said, adding that other companies could soon follow and look to develop ingredients which manage glucose levels after eating. Lommerde added that studies have shown it can lower glucose levels by 15 per cent, and the firm was carrying out further tests on efficacy at lower doses. He said: "Theoretically it should have a glucose lowering result for one gram because it will be the same process." The ingredient will be officially launched at FIE in London, and will initially be available in Europe and the US, before being rolled out to the rest of the world. DSM has taken a completely different approach to the launch of this ingredient. Eric said: "DSM has changed its approach to functional foods. It should be more of a concept where if you are aiming something at diabetics then you should involve patient groups and other organisation." The firm has been working with groups already to inform them of the ingredient and its effects. "The feedback has been very positive," Lommerde said. According to DSM, InsuVital can slow down the onset and progress of pre-diabetes, estimated to affect an estimated 41 million Americans. In 2003 The European Commission said it will plunge €11.7 million into a five-year project to investigate the treatment of obesity, one of the main causes of diabetes. The project will help identify brain mechanisms affecting obesity.