At the recent SupplySide West trade show, both Frutarom, based in Haifa, Israel and Welch’s Ingredients Group, a division of the Massachusetts-based grape growers cooperative, were showing polyphenol-rich delivery systems based on Taura’s proprietary URC, or Ultra Rapid Concentration technology. Frutarom, noted for its frenetic acquisition pace, added Taura to its stable of companies in 2015. Taura’s technology allows fruit ingredients to be turned into a form that is something between a gummi and a freeze dried ingredient, and is gentle enough to preserve the polyphenolic content. These reactive molecules are easily degraded using other processing technologies.
“The market is looking for new delivery systems,” Maider Gutierrez, director of marketing for Frutarom, told NutraIngredients-USA. “It’s important for us to show our capabilities to the market.”
Polyphenols plus functional ingredients
Frutarom has used the technology as a base for a new line of ingredients dubbed Frutaceuticals. Gutierrez said the company believes the ingredients will find a ready home in the market and will occupy a niche that is mostly empty. Fruit-leather like fruit pieces up to now have been mostly color, a little flavor and sugar, without much functional benefit, and gummis have issues of their own, she said.
“While gummies are popular, they can be perceived as unhealthful sometimes because of added sugar and gelatin,” Gutierrez said. “These real fruit pieces allow manufacturers to maintain cleaner labels by using simple ingredients that consumers trust.”
Gutierrez said the new delivery mode can help fill the demand created by rampant pill fatigue among consumers. In the US, according to information supplied by Frutarom, two-thirds of gummies (which began as a candy format) sold are as supplements taken by adults who do not want pills or capsules. Pill and capsule alternatives, such as chewables, gummies, liquids, or powders accounted for $13.3 billion in sales, or 34% of the $38.8 billion in supplement sales in 2015.
In addition to preserving the base fruits’ polyphenolic content, the new snack pieces can serve as delivery systems for branded ingredients. These include Neuravena, a green oat extract marketed for cognitive health; AB-Fortis, a highly bioavailable, micro-encapsulated iron salt; and Portusana, a purslane extract studied for its blood glucose management effects.
“The fruit pieces, flakes, shapes, and pastes are produced using Taura’s URC process to quickly evaporate moisture from heat-sensitive fruits and maintain the raw material’s integrity,” said Peter Dehasque, CEO of Taura. “The fully automated system creates stable products that do not need added sugar, bulking materials, or preservatives.”
Delivery mode for grape polyphenols
Welch’s partnered with Taura to develop its own line of polyphenol-rich fruit pieces and a powder version called Fruitworx. The ingredients are made form Welch’s Concord grape varieties. The nutritious and convenient delivery systems can work well in trending functional ingredients in clean-label elixirs, bars and more, the company said.
Kevin Kilcoyne, business development director for Welch’s, said positive research for the polyphenols in the company’s grapes continues to pile up.
“We have done research over the years on the polyphenols being linked to cardiovascular well being. We now have emerging work in the cognitive space, with a recent study on benefits of the juice in terms of attention in younger people,” he said.
“This is 100% real fruit, not an ingredient-added delivery system. The clean label aspect is really helping us in that regard,” he said.
Kilcoyne said the benefits of polyphenols resonate with consumers. The market for these ingredients is expected to grow globally by 6.1% a year (CAGR) to reach a value of almost $874 million by 2018, according to an independent analysis by Welch's. This indicates that polyphenols such as those delivered by Concord grape juice are very much on-trend. In addition, consumers increasingly want to know that healthy food and drink is ‘naturally functional’. In its report 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2016, respected marketing consultancy New Nutrition Business described naturally functional as “the King of Trends”.