Coke and Unilever showing interest in tomato extract
A functional fruit-juice beverage offering blood-circulation benefits has returned to UK shelves less than two years after it was axed.
Sirco was originally launched in January 2006 by research company Provexis, the developer of Fruitflow, the active ingredient in the product.
It was then withdrawn in July 2007 as part of a re-alignment of Provexis's corporate strategy. But it re-emerged in March under the ownership of the food and drink business, Multiple Marketing, with a new recipe and packaging.
Stephen Moon, chief executive of Provexis, said Sirco was not withdrawn because it was a failure. "It went reasonably well. But the business had to make up its mind what kind of a business it was. When I took over [in 2006] we were pressing on with a pretty full R&D pipeline, and we were also investing heavily in Sirco. So I talked to the board and got agreement to focus exclusively on being a functional-food discovery, development and licensing company."
Sirco was, and will be again, the only product containing Fruitflow on the market. However, the ingredient has attracted the interest of Unilever and Coca Cola, both of whom are engaged in research collaborations with Provexis to examine possible applications in, respectively, the dairy and beverage sectors.
Derived from tomatoes and patented by Provexis, Fruitflow works by smoothing platelets in the blood. These disc-shaped structures are important for blood clotting after injury and are normally inactive. But they can become 'spiky' as a result of smoking, high cholesterol or being overweight, and in this form can inhibit blood flow by forming an unwanted clot in a blood vessel.