Naturex has grape expectations

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Clinical trial Coffee

French supplier Naturex is aiming the grape extract it acquired in January to the energy drinks market and shunning the traditional heart health marketing that accompanies antioxidants.

Powergrape is more expensive than the other antioxidants that are part of Naturex’s Nat’Life suite, but the energy-enhancing clinical evidence is strong, Nat’Life marketing manager, Karine Nardon said.

Natural fit

“With the energy-related, sports backing this ingredient has, energy drinks are a natural fit for us,”​ Nardon told

“We are working with big beverage companies and expect a product will be on-market in Europe soon, possibly by the beginning of 2009. We analysed the energy drinks market and determined there was a lack of originality and the level of interest in the ingredient has confirmed that.”

Powergrape will sell for about €150/kg – more than the green coffee, lemon balm and hop extracts that make up the Nat’Life range.

Powergrape is yet to see the light of day in any food or beverage – something Naturex is working to change at Health Ingredients Europe (HIE) in Paris recently where it had two sample formulations on display – “sports”​ and one called “energy”.

The drinks were formulated with varying super juices and other ingredients. “While we have suggested these formulations, Powergrape can be easily mixed into other formulations and ingredients,” ​Narbon said.


Clinical trials performed on the ingredient demonstrate energy benefits that can be achieved with a daily dose of 400mg of Powergrape – able to be formulated in one 300ml drink.

These benefits form the basis of a health claim that will be submitted to European authorities imminently.

Nardon was keen to point out that Powergrape – an extract derived from a Bordeaux grape – was not from the same polyphenols family as resveratrol.

Based on studies on the Bordeaux grapes, Naturex suggests its clients make claims such as:

  • +23.9% improvement of physical performance
  • +7.9% increase of the recovery capacity
  • +3.6% increase of muscle oxygenation
  • -100.9% decrease of muscular damage or cramp risk
  • -48.8% decrease inflammation

Naturex said 13 parameters for antioxidative efficacy and five for physical performance were improved in the trial results.

In 2006 researchers from San Antonio Catholic University in Spain, showed that a drink containing black grape, raspberry and red currant concentrates reduced protein oxidation by 23 per cent following excessive exercise.

The volunteers, received daily doses of 400 milligrams of the grape extract, or placebo, for two months. At the end of the study, the researchers noted an increase in physical performance of 21.1 per cent as a result of taking the Powergrape supplements, compared to placebo.

Similar tests for a placebo crossover showed protein oxidation increased by 12 per cent (Clinical Nutrition​, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2005.11.007).

Leatherhead International valued the total global market value for performance foods and drinks at €15.8bn in 2006, representing 50 per cent growth in the past five years.

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