The company, which this month reorganized its human nutrition division to cater to specific segments, including the beverage sector, will introduce the clear, liquid vitamin E to formulators over coming months, targeting in particular the booming sports drink sector and flavoured waters.
"Water-soluble vitamin E per se is a contradiction in terms," noted Martin Jager, chief of human nutrition at the group. "It is extremely difficult to bring a fat-soluble vitamin into soluble formulations."
In addition, most of the ingredient firms that have achieved this feat use formulations aids that cause the product to foam when being processed.
"Many water-soluble vitamin E products on the market use formulation aids with surfactant-like structures that tend to foam. This means manufacturers need to reduce the speed for filling beverages - by about 30 per cent, according to some reports," Jager told NutraIngredients.com.
"We have used polysorbates as the main solubiliser, allowing fillers and bottlers to operate at maximum speed," he added.
The new product, called SoluE, uses patented technology developed in co-operation with German firm Aquanova, also behind Degussa's water-soluble alpha-lipoic acid, introduced last month.
BASF has previously worked with Aquanova on its SoluC, a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, and further products are in the pipeline, according to Jager.
Andreas Ernst, the new head of global marketing to the beverage sector, added that while SoluE is at the higher end of vitamin E price ranges, it offers good value for money based on its processing advantages.
The company claims it is the only synthetic vitamin E suitable for beverages that is offered in a liquid form, rather than a powder.
"This offers further cost-reducing steps."
In addition a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition online in January demonstrated that the water-soluble vitamin E, when offered as a supplement, was more bioavailable than conventional preparations.
BASF is one of the leading suppliers of synthetic vitamin E, along with Dutch group DSM. Both have expanded capacity recently, to a combined 45,000 tons, and need to grow the market.
The new product will be on display at the IFT show in New Orleans in July.