Genosa enlists Cambridge Commodities to grow UK olive extract market

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

The EU health claim-backed olive extract market is growing in Europe - and beyond. ©iStock/leonori
The EU health claim-backed olive extract market is growing in Europe - and beyond. ©iStock/leonori

Related tags: Olive oil

As Spanish hydroxytyrosol extract producer Genosa appoints Cambridge Commodities as its UK distributor, anecdotal evidence indicates that the interest in olive polyphenol extracts ignited five years ago by EFSA’s positive scientific opinion is far from waning.

The olive fruit extract space has been hot ever since olive extract polyphenols won a rare botanical antioxidant claim from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2011, but with no official market data available, it is hard to gauge precisely how hot.

“There are no specialised studies or statistics so far, but it is clear that in the last couple of years, the market has been growing a lot,” ​Carlos Peña, CEO of Genosa, told NutraIngredients.

He said that all geographical regions were growing at roughly the same level, apart from Asia, which was slightly ahead.

Hydroxytyrosol and omega-3 synergies

Peña noted that in Europe, growth was being driven by food and supplement manufacturers looking to develop products that combine olive hydroxytyrosol with omega-3s.

“Food - beverages and dairy - and dietary supplements containing olive hydroxytyrosol in combination with omega-3 are currently very successful for two reasons: firstly, because all players with omega capsules want to differentiate from the rest, and secondly, because the addition of hydroxytyrosol to omega-3 has several benefits.

It helps to meet another heart health requirement - the prevention of LDL cholesterol oxidation, a different and complementary mechanism from omegas - and also contributes to an additional protection of the omegas because it has high antioxidant activity,” ​he explained.

He added that in Asia, concepts based on skin whitening and general antioxidant activity were the most successful, and that in the US, heart health, antioxidant activity and joint health were the most popular platforms for Genosa’s Hytolive hydroxytyrosol extract.

With its new mandate to sell Genosa’s natural olive fruit extract into the UK market, Cambridge Commodities has developed a number of product concepts to demonstrate potential uses. These include an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capsule for sports nutrition, a beauty from within capsule for skin and an immunity health supplement. In addition to powders standardized to 10% hydroxytyrosol for tablets, pills, capsules and soft gels, Hytolive is available from Cambridge Commodties in a 25% hydroxytyrosol syrup form for beverages and food.

Charlene Moodliar, senior account manager at the UK supplier, said that besides the nutrient's robust health credentials, its vegan status was also boosting its appeal.

“Rising demand for vegan products is helping to drive demand for Hytolive. Vegan diets are currently one of the fastest growing trends in the UK and do not seem to be slowing anytime soon. We are expecting this demand to grow,” ​she said.

Indena’s take on the market

Italian firm Indena, another player in the olive fruit extract space, reported that beauty from within and cardiovascular health were the two most interesting categories for dietary supplements formulated with its Opextan ingredient, and that North America was by far the fastest growing market.

The company’s marketing director, Cosimo Palumbo, said that the positive EFSA opinion on olive polyphenols and the US FDA’s heart disease prevention health claim for olive oil had “drawn attention to the benefits of the olive oil family”​.

However, a downside of the fruit’s elevated profile was that it gave rise to the “development of numerous exracts, mostly from leaves and featuring their content in oleuropein or from waste water from the production of olives and featuring their content in hydroxytyrosol,” ​according to Palumbo.

Explaining the problem with using these molecules as benchmarks, he said: oleuropein is less active than verbascoside…and hydroxytyrosol is an unstable molecule”.

Opextan is based on verbascoside, which Indena claims is “the most potent antioxidant of the olive tree and the only enzymatically stable hydroxytyrosol conjugate from olives that is not destroyed during the manipulation of olives to obtain the oil”.

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