MEET THE WINNERS: Startup, NutraChampion and Editor’s Award

By Staff Writer

- Last updated on GMT

MEET THE WINNERS: Startup, NutraChampion and Editor’s Award
With the NutraIngredients Awards over for another year, we take a deeper look at the winners of three key categories: Startup Award, NutraChampion and Editor’s Award for Innovation.

The NutraIngredients Awards 2018, in association with Vitafoods Europe 2018, recognise and celebrate the industry’s biggest commercial successes, best product development, and brightest research.

A celebration of all that is great in the nutrition and wellness industry, the awards honoured 11 very deserving winners in key industry categories - from ingredients and finished product innovation in large and small firms, to start-ups, and awards for innovation and cutting edge research.

In this special focus we look at the winners of three key categories: Startup Award, NutraChampion and Editor’s Award for Innovation.

Start-up Award​ – Pharmako Biotechnologies

Optimized-Pharmako cofounder Eric Meppem with Key Staff

Pharmako specialises in lipid-based delivery systems for drugs and nutraceuticals. Its technologies essentially enhances the body’s absorption of fat soluble nutrients, allowing the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, functional food and cosmeceutical industries to use ingredients in new ways and at much lower levels by improving functionality and bioavailability of lipophilic ingredients. 

The company was founded in 2015 by former senior TGA manager George Kokkinis and former senior Swisse Wellness executive Eric Meppem, and has been a finalist in the Export Council of Australia’s and NSW Government’s Export Awards in both 2016 and 2017.

Pharmako has three technologies:

  • AquaCelle® - a SMEDS technology
  • CPOs – Compressible Powdered Oils
  • LipiSperse® - dispersion technology producing Cold Water Dispersible powders
Optimized-Sabinsa hydrocurc

The company was a finalist in three separate categories at the NutraIngredients Awards – with its HydroCurc ingredient and LipiSperse technology also impressing judges in the Editor’s Award for Innovation and the Botanical Product of the Year.

“Entering the Start-up Award was a worthwhile process. It enabled us to not only reflect on what we’d achieved in just 3 years, but also how our company direction has adjusted from our first objectives, as we’ve grown and responded to customers’ requests,” ​commented Eric Meppem, co-founder and commercial director at Pharmako. “This has also assisted us in our planning for future development.”

“We are honoured that what we’ve achieved has been recognised by the industry. Pharmako thanks all our supporters around the world, especially our partners Gencor Pacific,” ​he added.

NutraChampion​ – Dr Muhammed Majeed, founder of Sabinsa and Sami Labs

Optimized-Dr. Majeed in the lab 3

The NutraChampion award for this year is given to Dr. Muhammed Majeed, founder of Sabinsa and Sami Labs.

Utilizing science to study traditional Indian herbs and expand their applications has resulted in an array of unique branded ingredients backed by over 200 patents across the globe.

He pioneered introduction to the US and European supplements markets of little-known herbs that have become industry standards, such as coleus, garcinia, piperine, and curcumin.

His staunch insistence on validating products with solid science, protecting intellectual property, and advocating for best practices set a standard that the high quality branded ingredients side of the industry follows today.

“It’s always gratifying to have one’s work be recognized by an award,”​ he said.

“However given the high standards of journalistic excellence along with deep industry knowledge of the NutraIngredients


staff, there is an added honor with this one.”

Dr. Majeed added that he was honored to have been chosen as the NutraChampion by NutraIngredients, especially in Sabinsa’s 30th​ anniversary, year. 

“I share this award with the many members of staff who have upheld the commitment to scientific research methods, best practices in manufacturing, and fair trade agricultural policies exemplified by Sabinsa and Sami Labs.”

Shaheen Majeed, president of Sabinsa added his congratulations accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Majeed.

“As a witness to the impact of his work on this industry, I have to say I think your judges made a good choice in honoring someone who has continually pushed the industry to ever higher standards,”​ he said.

Moving forwards, Sabinsa looks to expand its agricultural cultivation programs, which benefit the small farming communities while ensuring our access to quality raw materials. 

“We’ve also got some very interesting new ingredients in the pipeline that will be good candidates for the NutraIngredient awards in coming years,” ​the firm said.

Editors Award for Innovation​ – NUTRINOVATE Reserol – Resveratrol Boosting Films

Nutrinnovate tweet

The Editor’s Award for Innovation went to NUTRINOVATE’s Reserol, Resveratrol Boosting Films, a drug delivery platform enabling substances to be absorbed via the oral lining – Functional Film Technology (FFT).

Using FFT, compounds with limited and/or slow absorption can increase both the rate and amount of absorption via the fine blood vessels in the mouth.

The film can be loaded with different substances. By loading the FFT with Resveratrol the absorption can be increased and thus the dose no longer needs to be large, as is the case with Resveratrol capsules.

“It is a dream coming true and standing on the same stage as big well established players in the industry is truly amazing,”​ said Nutrinovate.

“It also shows that it is possible to create magic with few resources if you have the right approach. Think big and act smart.

The award is even more remarkable considering that Nutrinovate is a Swedish startup, which began 2 years ago. Today the company is a workforce of 6 people, 3 in the head office and 3 in production.


Commenting about the awards process in general, Nutrinovate said that, “it has been a great exercise to sit down and really put your company’s vision on paper”.

“It’s a big and difficult task to summarize all your knowledge, projects and ideas down to a 3 page application. We are astonished of how far we have come in such a short period of time.

Going forwards, the ​idea of winning further awards was a great opportunity to reach international credit. They added that, “We still primarily focus on our local market, but are looking into expansion into new market - maybe UK will be next.

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