Nektium’s botanical extracts expand beyond supplements into F&B applications
08 Apr 2022 --- Spanish botanical ingredients company Nektium is expanding its botanical ingredient offerings into the F&B arena for the first time.
The move means that its clinically researched, branded plant extracts – such as Zynamite and Rhodiolife – can now be used in various products other than supplements, such as sports and energy beverages, dairy products, gummies and cereal bars.
“Our ingredients tap into many current trends in food and drink, so there is a lot of potential across several categories,” Tanausú Vega, head of technology processes and applications, R&D at Nektium, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“We have been focused on the supplements market,” he notes. “However, our botanicals are also suitable for various applications, including sports and energy drinks, dairy products, gummies and cereal bars.”
Thomas Adler, chief business officer at Nektium, adds: “The health benefits of natural plant extracts are gaining wider recognition, which means there is an opportunity to take them beyond the dietary supplement and nutraceutical categories and into the more mainstream F&B sector.”
Nektium has also recently announced that it is now a fully certified organic operator.
Natural plant extracts’ functionality accessed
Botanical extracts are no longer exclusively found in specialized niche sectors such as nutraceuticals, Vega explains.
“The formats in which functional ingredients are delivered to end consumers are becoming more and more versatile and we have adjusted our business to address this trend.”
Nektium’s core portfolio includes Zynamite, a proprietary mango leaf extract (Mangifera indica) that is clinically proven to help boost sports performance’s mental and physical aspects.
“We also have the adaptogen Rhodiolife, a Rhodiola plant extract (Rhodiola Rosea) that has been shown to help improve cognitive health and enhance endurance,” adds Vega.
“Consumers are seeking out functional food and drink and are increasingly aware of the health benefits of plants. They also want clean labels and products based on naturality and sustainability.”
Botanicals for sports performance
Categories such as sports nutrition have changed in recent years, notes Vega.
“It used to be a niche sector for serious athletes and bodybuilders, but now that it has hit the mainstream, many consumers are keen to buy food and drink products that deliver functional benefits linked to sports performance.”
NutritionInsight previously reported that industry expects the sports nutrition category will see growth in the future years as more individuals seek out dietary supplements to help them better manage their health.
Food application research
To anticipate potential run-ins with safety issues, the integration of botanical extracts into functional F&B requires a high level of knowledge in phytochemistry, food science and product formulation.
“Our ingredients undergo a stress test to evaluate whether they are fit for purpose and in some cases, where necessary, the product is adapted to specific needs,” Vega explains.
“The research examines ingredient functionality and provides seamless integration, stability and quality to product formulations.”
He highlights that the company’s knowledge and expertise in plant phytochemistry significantly helps it identify potential challenges for the food sector before running application trials.
“In some cases, botanicals can cause off notes that may require masking,” he remarks. “However, the impact on organoleptic properties depends on the specific ingredient and a wide range of parameters.”
Nektium previously expanded its portfolio of standardized botanical ingredients to include Echinacea Angustifolia. Echinacea Angustifolia is known for its ability to enhance the immune system and strengthen the body’s resilience to bacterial and viral infections.
By Nicole Kerr
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