Naturex triples production capacity for spirulina with new extraction line
07 Mar 2019 --- Naturex, now a Givaudan business, is spearheading its investment in coloring foodstuffs with the launch of Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina. A new extraction line, which triples spirulina production capacity, has been introduced at the company’s production site in Avignon, France. This expansion of Naturex’s manufacturing capacity has been designed to meet the growing global demand for clean label blues and greens. Natural blue color is claimed to provide a welcome solution in the industry’s continued quest for vibrant natural blue hues.
Spirulina is a microscopic freshwater blue-green algae, often listed as a “superfood,” with its coloring properties derived from the phycocyanin pigment. Naturex’s water-based extraction process for Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina ensures a 100 percent natural solution delivering clean label friendly, trehalose-free formulations, available in various concentrations and formats. It offers all shades of blue, and green when blended with Naturex’s natural yellows.
Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina is at the forefront of Naturex’s coloring foodstuffs range, providing a fully clean, water-extracted coloring solution. Naturex helps manufacturers switch to a 100 percent natural coloring which, for health-conscious customers comes at the top of their checklist when buying food.
Elijah Church, Director of Business Development – Colors at Naturex confirmed to FoodIngredientsFirst that this increase in capacity has already come on stream and Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina is now available to customers worldwide. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, the company will not be divulging the production capacity at the plant, however.
“This capacity expansion has been undertaken at our existing facilities in Avignon,” says Church. “With the recent acquisition of Naturex by the Givaudan group, the natural color category has become a key development area of business growth and of course being part of this major group will give us access to a wider customer base,” he adds. He noted that the integration of the Naturex business is progressing as planned.
“The natural color landscape is constantly evolving,” says Nathalie Pauleau, Global Product Manager for Colors. “Natural colors are now a prerequisite in many countries around the world. But health conscious consumers want to go even further in their quest for transparency and must be provided with fully clean formulations, as minimally processed as possible.”
“We are strengthening our coloring foods production capacity in Europe to provide our customers with vibrant colors that will help shorten ingredient lists. With the recent acquisition of Naturex by the Givaudan group, the natural color category has become a key development area of business growth for us,” she adds.
For Church, the “shift to natural” trend is gaining ground and there is growing demand to replace synthetic colors especially in Europe and the US. “Spirulina is one of the few solutions able to naturally replace artificial blue, so that makes it a very desirable product,” he says.
Blue and green shades have been experiencing a great success in the food industry in recent years, especially in the confectionery area but also in more unusual applications like beverages or dairy, he notes. “Consumers are always on the lookout for new natural experiences that will open new culinary horizons,” says Church. “Unusual colors are part of this trend and we are confident that there will be plenty of opportunity for spirulina in the future,” he adds.
From confectionery and cake decoration, ice cream to juicy drinks, the applications of Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina are many. Naturex’s Vegebrite Ultimate Spirulina will be presented at the company’s booth at Expo West 2019 (which commences today in Anaheim, California) with a blue frozen yogurt.
Spirulina is an area of high innovation. Last November, FoodIngredientsFirst reported how Scot Bio is using a bioreactor process to grow spirulina for extraction rather than the more commonly seen pond grown system. Scot Bio will supply spirulina extract to color houses, with the only current major one operating in the spirulina space itself being GNT.
Scot Bio recently scaled up its production capability to 16,000 liters and is looking to move from 2,000 liter tanks to 50,000 liter tanks within months. Its staff has grown from three to nine, and it has plans to increase its team by around 20 to accelerate its R&D and sales and marketing.
This week researchers from the University of Edinburgh and biotech firm Scot Bio won a Scottish Life Sciences Award for their pioneering collaboration on natural blue colorants. The partnership won the Innovative Collaboration prize for two years of work that has developed new molecular biology and extraction techniques to boost the yield and purity of Scot Bio’s phycocyanin product, a blue pigment it derives from spirulina algae.
Naturex is also using Natural Products Expo West 2019 as the launch-pad for Turmipure Gold, promoted as the first bioequivalent turmeric at a low dose, giving brands the confidence to formulate scientifically backed turmeric products. The company notes that turmeric has risen to stardom as a botanical ingredient thanks to its well-researched benefits for age related conditions. The main bioactives responsible for turmeric’s health effects are curcuminoids. However, curcuminoids are poorly water soluble and absorbed by the body. Only 300mg dose of Turmipure Gold deliver more curcuminoids in blood than 1500mg of standard turmeric (containing 95 percent curcuminoids) with or without black pepper extract. In addition to offering unrivalled bioequivalence at a low dose, Turmipure Gold is also available as 100 percent organic certified grade.
The two ingredient innovations will be brought to life on Naturex’s booth via imaginative in-use concepts that reflect Naturex’s focus on delivering a complete “experience.”
An organic joint support shot will be sampled to highlight the clean label and instant water-dispersibility of Turmipure Gold.
Visitors will also be invited to taste in a frozen yogurt colored with VegeBrite Spirulina natural blue and decorated with toppings that showcase Naturex’s wholesome fruit and vegetable powders.
A third “experience” concept – a fire-roasted pineapple and jalapeño functional beverage – will illustrate Naturex’s intensely flavored fire-roasted fruit and vegetables that are produced using a high temperature direct roasting technology. The refreshing health & wellness beverage is enriched with Naturex’s acerola botanical extract, whose 20 percent vitamin C content opens up healthy lifestyle positioning opportunities.
In March 2018, it emerged that Givaudan had entered into an agreement to acquire 40.6 percent of the shares of Naturex. In September 2018, Givaudan completed the acquisition of Naturex, following the implementation of a squeeze-out procedure. The deal valued the French-headquartered supplier at around €1.3 billion (US$1.61 billion). Global flavor house Givaudan has evolved far beyond its roots to identify itself around the more holistic concept of “taste” rather than mere “flavor” alone.
By Robin Wyers
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