INOREAL acquisition enables saffron expansion for Madrid-based biotech Natac
The acquisition will facilitate greater access to premium, value-added bioactive ingredients for customers and enable Natac “to serve customers with branded ingredients supported by clinical data”.
The company will capitalise on established INOREAL brands SATIEREAL and MOODREAL – that suppress appetite and relieve depression respectively – and pursue further commercial opportunities within these markets.
Natac chief operating officer, Noela González, comments: “The goal for those existing Inoreal saffron brands is to expand them immediately, and in parallel we will start developing more saffron products to launch in the mid- and long-term.”
González estimates an eight-fold exponential increase in saffron output over the next three years, expedited through vertical growth in existing markets, including nutraceuticals and beverages, and expansion into Latin America.
“Natac expects to growth our saffron business by over 18% annually. The impact is not so much short-term but the rippling effects that this operation will unfold as we start integrating operations, clients, and expertise,” she says.
Natac has manufactured saffron extract for more than a decade for supplement, pharmaceuticals, functional food, animal feed, and cosmetics markets throughout Asia, North America, and Europe.
The biotech specialises in ‘full spectrum’ whole-plant extracts that contain a combination of phytochemical compounds and duplicate the exact proportions of the plant in nature to deliver “heightened efficacy”.
Full Spectrum extracts are highly concentrated for a lower dosage and are standardised for consistency. Specialities include herbal extracts, grape vine, and olive tree derived ingredients, as well as Rhodiola and saffron extracts.
Natac’s saffron extract contains a significantly higher concentration of polyphenols than other commercial products (20% compared to the average 2%), according to company data. It also comprises 3% safranal (plant stigma), 7.5% crocin (carotenoid responsible for saffron colour), and 1% other carotenoids.
“We have a deep knowledge and expertise of the supply chain and the manufacturing of the extract. This is one of the important synergies with Inoreal,” says González.
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.), or ‘Red Gold’, is widely used as a premium ingredient in cooking but the plant has short blossoms allowing only two to six days for harvest each year.
In addition, it takes around 440,000 handpicked saffron stigmas to yield one kilogram of dried saffron and 150,000 flowers are needed to produce one kilogram, and demand is growing - driven by myriad health benefits of saffron extract.
González explains: “External research sources indicate that the global saffron extract market was close to a volume of 600 tons in 2020 and growth estimates are of 5%.”
Recent studies demonstrate that saffron may offer anti-obesity, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and aids digestive and nervous system health, as well as visual and sexual functions.
“Our goal is to make them available to more end-users,” affirms González.
INOREAL claims to be the largest extractor of saffron in Europe and shares synergistic values with Natac.
The company develops natural patented and scientifically proven functional ingredients for dietary supplements.
Clinical studies show that INOREAL’s patented brand SATIEREAL is effective at managing weight-loss due to its capacity to manage appetite and reduce compulsive snacking by releasing more serotonin in the central nervous system.
Conversely, MOODREAL suppresses serotonin uptake to control mood activity.
The French biotech also produces the ELIMREAL brand, which stimulates ‘natural body drain functions’, and body detoxification.
González adds: “The combined expertise of both companies will yield new products in the future that will have a significant impact for Natac and our clients.”