BetaCote 20VB is a dark red, free-flowing powder containing no animal derivatives, lactose or sugar.
It was launched in the United States last year through a distribution agreement with Buckton Scott Nutrition in 2003, but before it could be introduced in Europe certain adjustments had to be made to the raw material sourcing in compliance with European regulations.
A spokesperson for the company told NutraIngredients.com that the market potential for the product exceeds 100 tons a year.
According to the Israeli LycoRed subsidiary, the beadlets are produced using technology which ensures high stability but prevents leakage of beta-carotene during high pressure tableting (up to 10 metric tons per cm2), a problem that affects oil-based carotene tablets. It has called the technology a "potential breakthrough ingredient for the supplemental nutrition market".
Suitable applications include single ingredient beta carotene tablets, multivitamin tablets and hardshell capsules, antioxidant formulations, multi-carotenoid combinations, and functional foods.
A powerful anti-oxidant, beta-carotene delivers provitamin A nutrients to the body, which are converted into an active vitamin only when needed.
Said to be a safer form of Vitamin A for use as a food additive when fortification is not the primary objective, beta carotene can help counter the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. It is believed to help prevent heart disease and certain cancers and promote eye health, and a growing body of evidence also points to its immune-system boosting properties.
Last May DSM Food Specialties also introduced a gelatin-free version of its CaroCare beta-carotene supplement derived from the naturally-occurring Blakeslea trispora microorganism and containing 7.5 per cent natural beta-carotene.
According to a survey carried out by the Food Standards Agency in 2003, six per cent of UK households claim to contain at least one vegetarian.