The project, entitled 'Bioavailability of Green Tea Extract From Different Food Matrices', is likely to interest food manufacturers, many of whom use green tea as a functional ingredient in a range of products such as beverages, cereals and chocolate. According to Leatherhead, green tea catechins have been shown to exhibit a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease. However, the researchers also claim that human uptake of green tea catechins is low in comparison to concentrations demonstrated by vitro tests. Leatherhead states that this subject is particularly important in the area of health claims, as factors such as uptake "may influence the potential claims that can be made." The research agency therefore hopes to carry out collaborative research into how green tea uptake can be improved, and proposes to look at green tea in liquid, cereal and dairy products. Leatherhead said it will hold an open meeting at its facilities in Surrey, UK, to discuss the proposed project next month. Green tea market According to recent report from Frost & Sullivan, the market for green tea extracts, currently worth around $44m (€29.7m), is expected to grow by more than 13 per cent over the next seven years. The analysts state that science is the reason for the ingredient's growing popularity, and that it is generally accepted that green tea has a beneficial role in reducing Alzheimer's, certain cancers, cardiovascular and oral health. Emerging markets in Eastern Europe will be important for manufacturers' future growth, especially considering the "intense competition" with Asian companies, the report said. According to the analysts, there are already 15 major manufacturers operating in the Asia-Pacific region, including DSM, Cognis and Naturex.