Its other plants in the US, Morocco and Italy would follow suit, possibly next year, said group marketing manager, Antoine Dauby.
The certification meets United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) and European Union standards.
While the certification did not mean all of Naturex’s French produced extracts would be organic, it opened its organic options in a climate where it observed, “more and more consumers are purchasing organic food, dietary supplements and cosmetics through traditional trade channels.”
The most popular organic offerings for French-based Naturex are rosemary, maca, green tea and guarana. These ingredients are still offered in non-organic format and are popularly used as antioxidants and flavourings.
“This move is a reaction to our client expectations and consumer expectations as well,” Dauby told NutraIngredients.com. “Natural and organic ingredients are experiencing a boom in many sectors and seem to be holding strong despite the financial crisis – consumers want the highest standards every step of the way. People are returning to their roots.”
Dauby would not place a figure on the cost of the certification because he said the process had been ongoing for several years.
“From our point of view the move toward organic is consistent with our corporate values which are based on sustainability and initiative. This enhances our overall offer and reflects our commitment to quality and traceability and other tenets of the organic movement.”
He said return on investment in both the short and the long term was forecast to be healthy.
Naturex also plans to progressively extend these certifications to its other plants. Jacques Dikansky, Naturex president and chief executive officer, said:
"These organic certifications are part of our growing business initiatives, by extending and enhancing our current products and services portfolio. It contributes to better serve our existing clients."
Naturex also recently began promoting a grape extract it acquired in January in the energy drinks market and shunning the traditional heart health marketing that accompanies antioxidants.
Powergrape is more expensive than the other antioxidants that are part of Naturex’s Nat’Life suite, but the energy-enhancing clinical evidence is strong, Nat’Life marketing manager, Karine Nardon said.
“With the energy-related, sport backing this ingredient has, energy drinks are a natural fit for us,” Nardon said.
“We are working with big beverage companies and expect a product will be on-market in Europe soon, possibly by the beginning of 2009. We analysed the energy drinks market and determined there was a lack of originality and the level of interest in the ingredient has confirmed that.”