Tomato extract finds fresh circulation in UK superfruit juices

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Nutrition functional beverage beverage

Sirco, the circulation benefiting juice with a clinically-backed tomato extract is back on UK retail shelves after being pulled in mid-2007 by its then owner, Provexis.

Sirco will appear in upmarket UK retailer, Waitrose, from the beginning of March, in ambient, one-litre packages in two 100 per cent superfruit flavours – ‘blueberry & apple’ and ‘pomegranate & orange’. Single-serve options were being looked at.

In Sirco’s previous incarnation, it appeared as a diluted juice drink and was chilled, but the new product will employ the same circulation-benefiting health claim.

The products will retail for about £1.99 million (€2.24), said Provexis chief executive officer, Stephen Moon, who noted a recent Frost & Sullivan report that highlighted the strength of the European heart health and blood pressure market which was valued at more than €420m in 2007.

“This product is unique because it is the first that has been clinically proven to benefit circulation,”​ he told NutraIngredients.com. He said more than 10 published, scientific studies had used the ingredient and more were underway, including one trial that compared Fruitflow with low-dose aspirin.

Article 13.1 and 13.5 health claims had been lodged with the European Union’s health and nutrition claims process, with verdicts due this year.

“We know this process is tough but independent experts have told us our claim is strong,” ​he said.

Fruitflow

Provexis is a UK functional ingredients and technology licensing specialist behind the Fruitflow technology that provides the tomato-extracted ingredient that has been clinically proven to benefit blood circulation.

Sirco’s return comes in changed circumstances as Provexis sold the brand to UK company Multiple Marketing in November, 2007, amid a drive to focus on its core business of developing its Fruitflow technology.

Under the deal between the two companies, Multiple Marketing – a branding specialist that also owns the Eat Natural cereal bar and Sunmagic fruit juice brands in the UK – licenses the Fruitflow technology from Provexis under a royalty arrangement.

Moon said Provexis took responsibility for doing all the science and regulatory work in regard to the Fruitflow technology and had two other technologies in the pipeline.

It was also entered into licensing arrangements with Coca-cola and Unilever.

Big backing

Provexis received a boost in August, 2008, when Dutch ingredients giant, DSM, invested £1.5 million (€1.68m).

DSM said at the time its 29.3 per cent stake in Provexis formed part of its strategy “to further expand in ingredients for functional food and dietary supplements”.

The deal saw DSM purchase 230m Provexis shares at £0.0065 (€0.0044) and makes the Dutch company Provexis's biggest investor.

DSM’s investment was carried out by its venture capital business, DSM Venturing, and forms its 20th such investment. DSM Venturing has about €200m in its kitty to be spent by 2012.

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