Lycopene-rich foods to boost healthy branding

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lycopene

LycoRed is introducing a new version of its Lyc-O-Mato product line
especially designed for liquid and paste applications that could
help manufacturers of tomato-based products boost lycopene content.

While traditional tomato paste contains between 300 and 500ppm lycopene, the new Lyc-O-Mato Red contains three times that amount, and is low in sugars.

VP marketing and sales Dr Zohar Nir said that the paste version of the company's high lycopene powder was designed to meet the needs of secondary tomato processors who are looking for a healthy, easy to incorporate ingredient.

There has been considerable attention to the health benefits of lycopene in the last few years. The antioxidant carotenoid, which is responsible for giving tomatoes their red colour, has been studied for its potential to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.

Most recently, researchers from India reported in the journal Urological Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations​(Vol. 23, pp. 383-385) that lycopene could protect against the development of prostate cancer - a finding in keeping with earlier epidemiological evidence that tomato-based foods can help men maintain a healthy prostate.

One epidemiological study found that men eating four to five tomato-based dishes per week were 25 per cent less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men eating tomatoes only rarely.

Such findings are boosting the lycopene market, with growth rates forecast at over 100 per cent by Frost and Sullivan, albeit from a low base of around €27m ($34m) in 2003.

In light of this, boosting lycopene content can, according to LycoRed, help make products more appealing to health conscious consumers.

"Nowadays manufacturers are more concerned about their brand image than ever before,"​ said Dr Nir. "Lyc-O-Mato Red helps the producers to provide their brands with a healthier image and with a competitive price."

The company says the ingredient is also suitable for use in other foods and beverages beyond tomato-based products, such as breads, confectionary, cereals, soy products and smoothies.

Novel foods approval granted by the UK's Food Standards Agency last year gave the go-ahead for the use of lycopene in foods amounts of 5mg per serving, thought to be the dose required to produce a health benefit. Prior to this it fell under the legislation for additives, since it was more commonly used as a food colour.

Growth rates for the lycopene market are forecast at over 100 per cent by Frost and Sullivan, albeit from a low base of around €27m ($34m) in 2003.

LycoRed's sales of natural lycopene have also increased since its approval as a natural colourant in the US in January - said to be an effect of food manufacturers seeking to clean up their labels by choosing natural ingredients over synthetic.

Following its acquisition of Buckton Scott in the US last year, LycoRed has reorganizing its subsidiaries and is position itself as a major supplier of natural carotenoids - now producing beta-carotene derived from fungi and zeaxanthin from berries.

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