Bioavailability emerges as a key nutritional driver, says Frutarom Natural Solutions Chief
04 Jul 2018 --- The demand for natural, sustainable and integrated solutions, as well as growing calls for expressing bioavailability are all key drivers for today’s health and nutrition products, Frutarom’s President of Natural Solutions, Yoni Glickman has said. The business unit, which offers Flavor & Color, Food Protection and Health Benefits, accounts for about 25 percent of Frutarom’s turnover. An integrated cognitive health platform will be just one of the target areas for growth for the business, in the run-up to Frutarom’s US$7.1 billion acquisition by International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), which was announced last May.
Glickman pointed to three key themes on the market in a detailed interview with NutritionInsight.
The first relates to natural and sustainable solutions, which goes far beyond being a mere trend alone and is a “paradigm shift.” “This is a real vector that consumers are asking for. Behind the natural side of things, it is not only about being natural but also about being sustainably sourced. We always need to be conscientious that as we provide natural solutions to our customers, we do that in a sustainable manner. We need to continue to work diligently towards taking that into our raw materials and offer sustainable solutions,” he notes.
Secondly, within the health ingredients space, the whole question of pill fatigue exists and the market dynamic is, therefore, moving into the notion of integrated solutions. “This could be a beverage, shot or bar, or what you would call solutions in the matrix. We cannot underestimate how quickly the market wants to move in that direction. A lot of those times that movement is challenging. A lot of these ingredients don’t have the greatest taste profile, but that is certainly somewhere where we can come in where we can bring these products into the food matrix with products that are organoleptically acceptable and that taste great,” notes Glickman.
Thirdly, it is the question of bioavailability of health ingredients. “When I started here over 13 years ago, bioavailability was a subject that was difficult to understand and something that consumers didn’t pick up on. But a lot of work in this area has gone into educating consumers around it. It is not just about the ingredient, but about how it is absorbed in the body and how effective it is. Currently, we have a strong portfolio in that area and from a scientific point of view. It is something that we will put a lot of emphasis on going forward,” he says.
Glickman notes the cognitive health platform as a key area for growth going forward. Their Neuravena product, which is positioned on a cognitive health platform, is a good example of a nutritional that can be positioned on all of these platforms. Neuravena is a green oat extract sourced from a unique strain of Avena sativa L. known for its positive effects on cognitive markers. Because Frutarom works with contract farmers to cultivate this proprietary oat variety, the company claims to exercise full control over quality, safety and identify from field to finished product.
The acquisition of Enzymotec, which was rounded off earlier this year, gave Frutarom access to phosphatidylserine (PS), a highly researched ingredient, that has been clinically shown to improve cognition.
For Glickman, a major shift has occurred in how cognitive health has shifted regarding how they are marketed, “whether it is in dealing across the whole spectrum of cognitive issues, ranging from stretching attention to short-term memory.”
The drive will be taking these nutritionals into new areas. “In the case of Neuravena, we grow our own raw materials, and source it sustainably, to make sure that we have the necessary supply chain. If we look at some of those products, such as Neurevena or the PS product from our Enzymotec acquisition, we are moving all those things into delivery platforms. We are taking them into fruit and concentrated fruit technologies, so it can be taken as a fruit piece that tastes excellent and offers a new consumer experience,” he says.
New applications of Neurevena are also possible. “We can take into beverage applications as a shot, for example. So we are going through a lot of work in that space. We are answering a lot of questions about naturalness and sustainability through to how we can deliver those things. We are doing a lot of clinical work on bioavailability too,” he says.
Synergies are possible between these types of nutritionals, he confirms. “We only recently acquired Enzymotec back in January which was about integrating our cognitive health platform. You will need clinical studies to support the individual ingredients and potential combinations,” he adds.
The issue of bioavailability will be central to the company’s innovation pipeline. “Internally, we have a couple of core technologies around the bioavailability space. For example, what we do through our grown nutrients, where we move single ingredients onto a fruit matrix, growing on either yeast or lactobacillus, which greatly increases the bioavailability because the body recognizes these ingredients. The other side of things is a lot related to solubility, or around a lot of internal technologies that we have had in the past like our HyperPure technology that not only cleans out pesticides but because of the way it works also increases bioavailability,” he adds.
When interviewed by FoodIngredientsFirst at Vitafoods Europe in May, Glickman noted confidence for the future of his business unit following Frutarom’s acquisition by IFF, which is expected to be closed 6-9 months after signing. This is despite the lack of apparent correlation between IFF’s densely flavor focused portfolio and this part of Frutarom’s business. “If we look at the drivers of the acquisition, natural ingredients is one of them. We expect this to be an important part of the acquisition going forward and IFF has said that publicly,” he notes.
Regarding an update on progress, he could only reiterate what has already been communicated. “We are progressing between signing and closing and going through all the regulatory process. It is progressing fine and nothing had changed compared with what was announced regarding the closing date, which is 6-9 months after the closing of the deal. Up until then, it is clear that we will continue to operate as separate companies that work with our customers and provide for them,” he says.
The response from customers has generally been positive, he notes. “In general they agree that together that we will have a lot more capabilities and our customers also believe that there will be a wider range of products available as a result,” Glickman concludes.
By Robin Wyers
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