Periscope

Ingredient of the month: Black vinegar
What is it?
Black vinegar, known as kurosu in Japan, is vinegar that is aged in clay pots for up to a year, where it acquires its dark colour. It can be made from rice, barley and sometimes brown rice.

Where does it come from?
Kurosu vinegar comes from Japan, where there are hundreds of manufacturers, primarily in the southern region of Kagoshima.

When was it discovered?
The vinegar first appeared about a decade ago and was thought to be ?good for the health,? but never really developed a market until recent years.

How is it beneficial?
This vinegar contains 16 times the amino acids of regular Japanese vinegar and 43 times the amount found in apple cider vinegar. Rich in vitamins and minerals, black vinegar is believed to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, lower cholesterol and heighten energy levels.

Several scientific studies have documented its ability to render a food low glycaemic, by slowing or impairing the ingestion of the carbohydrates in the meal it accompanies.

What can be done with it?
Black vinegar is commonly taken as a health tonic, and in Japan, some women drink it as a cosmeceutical tonic. It has not yet been incorporated into foods in the US or North America, though it can be added in cooking as a braise or sauce.

— Ashley Canty

Industry insights from NBJ

Slowdown of growth in supplements markets

12

19%

Imports of lesser-quality 'commodity' materials

9

15%

Low-cost, low-quality competition

16

26%

Currency issues, eg, declining dollar

3

5%

Negative media coverage of dietary supplements

9

15%

Sourcing difficulties

1

2%

Price competition from Asia

5

8%

Declining margins

7

11%

Source: Nutrition Business Journal survey of 80-plus raw material and ingredients supply companies in August 2005. Per cents don?t total 100 per cent due to rounding. ?NBJ Raw Material & Ingredient Supply Report 2005.?


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