Part of its EZEyes range that has been offered in stable oil suspension, Chrysantis has debuted the ingredient in a 10 percent beadlet form. "We are truly excited about adding this new product form to our offering," said Chrysantis sales and marketing manager, Phil Gowaski. "We have worked hard to ensure that the new EZEyes beadlet protects zeaxanthin during the tabletting process and that it remains stable when in contact with a wide variety of ingredients, which makes it the product of choice for a multivitamin tablet." The ingredient is derived from marigold and is being marketed on its "all-natural" sourcing. Other zeaxanthin sources include goji berries, red peppers as well as synthetic versions such as meso-zeathanthin which is derived by altering the molecular structure of lutein. Zeaxanthin has long lingered in the shadow of its more high profile cousin, lutein, but has been gaining increasing attention as studies demonstrate its effectiveness in benefiting eye health - particularly advanced macular degeneration. Although the raw materials market is only believed to be worth about $2-3m in the US - almost all of which is used by dietary supplements manufacturers - it is growing as awareness spreads. Gowaski said the company has engaged in an extensive consumer awareness campaign that included the establishment of a website - www.EZEyes.info. Sponsored radio talks, article inserts in newspapers as well as tie-ins with associations representing senior citizens had also been engaged in. It is estimated the average adult requires between 2-4mg of zeaxanthin per day. Although food applications were at a minimum at the moment, Chrysantis had applied for and been granted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status. "At the moment it is more of a validation of the ingredient as foods and beverages are not really on our radar at the moment," Gowaski said. "But maybe a year or two down the line GRAS will become important as foods come online." But he noted that several foods that had been fortified with lutein including a prune juice, and orange juice had either performed at low niche level or been withdrawn. The price of lutein has dropped significantly in recent years as Chinese supply has come on-stream. Whereas it used to sell at $5 per gram or more, Chinese material commonly sells at $1 per gram. An increase in supply from Mexico as well as the fact market leader Kemin's lutein patent is coming up for expiration has also placed downwards pressure on prices. Zeaxanthin typically sells for $10 per gram although it is used in smaller volume in supplements than lutein.