Until it is ready to start manufacturing and marketing the extract, expected to be within the next few months, Frutarom is keeping its identity a closely guarded secret. But since D-Herb's mission is to evaluate and develop herbal products used in the folk medicine of Galilee for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical uses, it is understood that this where the extract has its roots.
With this latest addition to its healthy extracts line-up, the Israeli company is targeting a very topical area for nutraceuticals. Current estimates putting the total number of people with type-2 diabetes in the world at around 190m - over ten per cent of whom reside in the United States. Effective natural methods of controlling and preventing the disease can help stem the drain on health care budgets.
The American Diabetes Association recently recommended that the estimated 41m Americans with pre-diabetes use nutraceuticals and dietary measures to prevent or delay onset of the disease.
Frutarom cites market research estimating the US market for anti-diabetes natural products to be US$30m, with 30 per cent growth last year.
A spokesperson for the company told NutraIngredients.com that Europe and Asia are also expected to be big markets for the product, as diabetes rates may not yet be on a par with the US but they are increasing fast - a factor attributed to the adoption of Western and fast-food oriented eating habits.
The extract is the first product investigated by D-Herb, which was founded as a start-up in late 2002 in the NGT Technological Incubator in Nazareth. A clinical study has been conducted at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon Israel; although the results are said to be "excellent", publication details are not presently available.
Frutarom claims that the extract "is the only clinically proven, natural product that reduces HbA1c [glycosylated haemoglobin] levels in diabetes type-2 patients".
Ori Yehudai, president and CEO of Frutarom, said that this new offering is aligned with Frutarom's rapid growth strategy, where it has particular emphasis on natural products for functional and health foods, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals.
As well as having 21 R&D labs of its own throughout the world, the Israeli company is identifying and investing in technologies developed by start-ups, research institutes and universities.
Other recent news from the company in the healthy ingredients area includes the acquisition of Nesse, the introduction of omega-3 rich Salvia seed oil, EFLA955 Wild Green Oat Neuravena Special Extract for mental health, and an olive leaf extract for blood pressure control.
Acocrding to Yehudai, more may be in the pipeline: "Frutarom is actively seeking new sources for breakthroughs and innovation and is involved in additional collaborations that will boost its research and development activity and significantly strengthen its product portfolio," he said
When Frutarom published its Q2 results last month, in which reported overall sales growth US$72.3m, Yehudai told NutraIngredients.com that the fine ingredients division has a turnover of around US$100m and 70 per cent of this is from natural products, be it health ingredients or flavours.
He added that the company has experienced good growth in the functional foods arena, with healthy ingredients showing high double digit growth for the quarter.