Juice maker shares polyphenols venture experience

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

‘Science on polyphenols has come a long way’ ©iStock
‘Science on polyphenols has come a long way’ ©iStock

Related tags Antioxidant Nutrition functional beverage beverage

Massachusetts-based Juice maker Welch’s entered the global ingredients business in 2014 with its polyphenol-loaded Concord grape offerings. We fly at the speed of words inside the grape with global ingredients VP Wayne D Lutomski.

Are some regions more friendly to polyphenol marketing than others?

“Government regulations vary from country to country and influence what you can and cannot say about the nutrients and specific benefits products’ provide. It’s important to understand these regulations as you seek to develop marketing messaging for use across the globe.

It’s also important to create products with ingredients that are supported by sound science. Nearly 20 years of research shows that Concord grape juice helps support a healthy heart.”

Do consumers understand what polyphenols/antioxidants are and what they do?

“Consumers are more familiar with the term ‘antioxidant’. In fact, many are actively seeking out this term when choosing foods and beverages because they believe in its link to health. On the other hand, mainstream familiarity with plant nutrients like polyphenols – which can act as antioxidants but also contribute to an array of other benefits – remains relatively low.

With that said, we have seen more conversation around these plant nutrients as the science has continued to build and manufacturers have begun to share the polyphenol content and benefits of their offerings. In fact, the market for polyphenols is expected to grow globally over the next few years.”


Which demographics are most interested in antioxidants?

“Historically baby boomers were more concerned about their longevity and quality of life; they were looking to consume products that provided these health-promoting vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients. However, we are seeing Millennials develop a greater awareness of ‘naturally functional’ foods and beverages and interest in their beneficial properties.

In general, females have tended to be the initial consumer and primary buyer, but this is changing. And, the science supports that polyphenols can be beneficial to both males and females.”

How important is it to invest in research?

Wayne D Lutomski-Welchs
Wayne D Lutomski

“Science on polyphenols has come a long way but more is needed to understand their benefits on various health outcomes. Also, research on novel nutrient delivery systems is key as consumer look for new product formats to meet their health and wellness needs.

Welch’s has developed its FruitWorx line of Concord grape based fruit bites. FruitWorx can be used as an ingredient in baked goods, nutrition bars, confectionery and other items.

Are any Welch’s juices ever fortified with antioxidants, aside from those that may occur naturally?

“Concord grape juice is a nutrition powerhouse…and, while more research is needed, preliminary studies suggest Concord grape juice may provide benefits in other areas of health, including cognitive function. In some of our products we also boost the natural nutrition content of our juice with the antioxidant vitamin C.”

Welch’s Global Ingredients Group operates in Europe, the Middle east, Africa with its distribution partner Wild Juice and is present in North, Central and South America and Asia where it focuses on Japan, Korea and China.

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