New Hope Network is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Articles from 2004 In January

Herb, Spice and Natural Health Product Industry Leaders Gather In Guelph

The Canadian Herb & Spice National Coalition is holding the first National Herb, Spice and Natural Health Products Conference and trade show, " From Grass Roots to Global Enterprise; The Canadian Herb and Spice Industry Comes of Age!

This premier herb, spice and natural health products conference will be held at the University of Guelph Feb 17and 19, 2004 the trade show on Feb 18th, 2004 is hosted by the National Herb and Spice Coalition. The National Coalition was formed to address the common needs of the Canadian herb, spice and natural health industry across Canada. Membership represents 10 provinces and the Yukon territory.

" We have worked closely with the Natural Health Products Directorate in the development of new Natural Heatlh Products Industry and are working on a HACCP based good agriculture system for herb & spice production in Canada, which will include a comprehensive international plant identification practice " Says Connie Kehler, Executive Director of the National Herb and Spice Coalition. "This Conference will be informative for anyone in Canada who is or wants to manufacture or grow herbal products in Canada. It also will be a great networking forum for growers and processors of spices and culinary herbs "

Organizers hope staging a conference of this magnitude will help to bring the Canadian herb, spice and natural health products industry into the 21st century, united and strong.

"With all of the new Federal Government regulations for this Industry sector we all need to be on the same page to be competitive at home and in the global marketplace," says Kehler

The Natural Health Products Directorate will be offering a full day of workshops at the conference for manufactures of natural health products in Canada.

This industry conference will help connect this industry from the field to the shelf with speakers from Canada, the US, Japan and Italy.

SHSA, the voice for the National Herb and Spice Coalition,also hosted the first International Herb Conference and Festival in Saskatchewan in 2000 an event where new ness relationships that were developed are still expanding today.

For full agenda and information:
Connie Kehler
Executive Director Saskatchewan Herb and Spice Association
Voice for the National Coalition of the Herb and Spice Industry
Tel : 306-694-4622 Fax 306-694-2182

Delicious Living

February 1, 2004

The right formula: creating great-tasting soy beverages

The four most important considerations when adding soy ingredients to products are taste, colour, functionality and cost. Jimbin Mai, PhD, explains how to work with soy to produce functional products—be they dry-blended, low-acid or high-acid beverages

As obesity rates and associated diseases such as diabetes and heart disease rise, researchers are exploring the role diet may play in the development or prevention of serious diseases. Because of the lower incidences of such diseases in certain Asian countries when compared with Western countries, researchers are examining the differences in diet between these regions. One major dietary difference is the larger consumption of soy by many Asian populations as a major protein source.

Today, East is meeting West as the health benefits of soy protein are becoming better known. In fact, according to information from Soyatech, sales in the soyfoods category in the United States grew by 13.8 per cent in 2002 to total nearly $3.6 billion. The Soyatech projection for 2004 is more than $4 billion.

Leveraging a growing trend, food manufacturers are looking to satisfy consumer needs by producing great-tasting, convenient and better-for-you foods by incorporating soy ingredients into already-established or new brands. Large food companies? investments in soy products are a key driver behind the growth in the mainstream category.

So, why incorporate soy protein into the manufacturing of consumer products? Simply put, its health benefits plus its high-quality protein (equal to meat, milk and egg protein) have made soy protein a top food ingredient choice. In addition to being a nutritional source for improving heart health, bone health and kidney health, as well as helping to prevent certain types of cancer, soy protein helps with satiety, is a highly digestible protein and helps maintain a nitrogen balance within the body.

Formulation considerations
Advances in the formulation of soy ingredients have also contributed to increased sales of soyfoods. Long associated with a distasteful ?beany? flavour, today?s soy products are better tasting than ever thought possible.

But what should food companies consider to be of prime importance in adding soy ingredients to products? First and foremost, taste, colour, functionality and cost. In addition, there are some general rules that will make companies? forays into producing soy-containing products more successful. First, not all soy is created equal in protein content. Depending on the finished product to be produced, manufacturers have many different types of soy ingredients from which to choose. Soy flour contains only about 50 per cent protein, whereas soy concentrates contain 70 per cent. Isolated soy protein retains 90 per cent of its protein during processing and contains fewer carbohydrates. Beyond soy flour, soy concentrate and isolated soy protein, a new soy protein ingredient is now available, made possible by a recently developed protein manufacturing process that enables further separation of the protein molecule from the carbohydrate molecule, resulting in a soy protein ingredient that has better functionality. This new soy protein process can be used in spray-dry, powder and liquid applications.

Flavour is first
As it relates to overall food and beverage formulation, taste is the most important factor—flavour, texture and mouthfeel. Because flavour is so imperative for product acceptance, manufacturers of soy protein often partner with a flavour house to ensure the best possible result. And the foremost soy ingredient manufacturers know they should employ not just a flavour house, but a flavour house that has years of experience with soy.

When flavouring soy protein, keep a few things in mind. First, choose a flavour that is innately compatible with soy protein. Any of the ?brown? ingredients work well, such as chocolate, caramel, malt, butterscotch, nut, honey peach, coconut and banana. If cream or butter can be used, both are always desirable. I would caution against vanilla, if at all possible. Vanilla is the most challenging flavour to make compatible with soy protein because it is often used as a ?milk? flavour in products such as soymilk, and there is a taste discrepancy when a consumer compares soymilk with regular milk. As companies make advancements in flavour ?maskers,? more exotic flavours are becoming popular. V8 Splash Smoothies—available in such flavours as peach mango and citrus blend—represent a good example of this growing trend.

Sodium chloride can be used to help with some of the soy protein aftertaste. And with low-carbohydrate applications, sweeteners such as sucralose and Acesulfume-K work better in the formulation process than aspartame, as both are more resistant to heat and acid changes.

In general, when formulating with soy protein, we need to understand the physical and chemical properties of the ingredient including dispersibility, water absorption, solubility, viscosity, gelation and emulsion capacity. Depending on the time and stage, these properties could be innate or inactive in your product formulation or production process.

When looking at the formulation of dry-blended powered beverages, low-acid beverages and high-acid beverages, all require different attention to mouthfeel, viscosity, dispersibilty, density and more. Dry blends: For a dry-blended product, the most important elements of formulation include mouthfeel, viscosity, dispersibility and density of the product. Soy protein is slightly different from dairy protein, as it requires more sheer energy and more time to be reconstituted into a solution. However, with a dry-blended product that contains soy protein, the producer doesn?t have the luxury of more energy and more time. Therefore, producers may use hydrocolloids to considerably improve the mouthfeel of a dry-blended beverage.

Soy protein in general has less of a ?cooked? note than dairy protein, which means soy lends itself well to high-acid flavours
Just as important as mouthfeel is reconstitution of the dry-blended beverage to a liquid. With a dry-blended beverage, the choices of reconstituting liquids generally include water, milk or juice. Milk is not an optimal choice for use with a soy protein-containing, dry-blended beverage because the proteins contained in milk and the soy protein must compete with one another for water. Juice also is not the best option because protein by nature is not acid compatible. Therefore, when possible, water should be used to ensure the best-tasting end product.

Generally, soy protein has a higher viscosity than dairy proteins. Therefore, for the powder to disperse in the solution better ? be it in water, milk or juice—producers may use an agglomerated product. However, cost associated with using agglomeration is high. Among other things, agglomeration decreases the bulk density of the product. This directly affects product elements such as packaging, which is extremely costly for the supplier to modify. Although very viable, most manufacturers avoid using agglomeration if possible.

Low acid: Different from dry-blended beverages, manufacturers that produce low-acid beverages, such as soymilk, concentrate on colour, dispersability, hydration, stabilisation, the buffering capacity and viscosity in formulation. Because consumers often compare or reference low-acid beverages with milk, emulsion is important, especially when the formulation uses little fat ? the higher the fat content, the better the emulsion. The comparison between the low-acid beverage and milk can present a challenge for the formulator.

Hydrating a soy protein requires extra care. Soy protein needs more time, more energy and higher temperatures to hydrate. And to stabilise soy protein, the formulator needs to use not only a stabiliser but also a buffering system. Successful rehydration also depends on the ingredient and the quality of the processing water. Therefore, many processors use dionised water, as its high quality makes it easier to use in formulation.

In addition, most liquid beverages require homogenisation. Soy protein generally is very heat stable, but for the long-shelf-life products, microbiological purity is critical.

Hydration also is extremely important. The correct rehydration process for soy protein is as follows.

  1. Disperse the powder, or wet it.
  2. ?Swell? the soy protein using heat and mechanical agitation.
  3. Dissolve it into a dispersible solution.

If this process proceeds too quickly, the temperature is too cold, or there isn?t proper agitation, the formulator is left with a non-dispersed protein—a lump of protein, if you will. If this occurs, the producer will have a finished product that lacks functionality and, therefore, he will not have produced a stable, palatable product.

As far as the solubility of soy protein, it decreases as the ionic strength or salt contained in the formulation increases. Without any salt, almost 90 per cent of isolated soy protein is dispersible in the solution. However, if you increase the ionic concentration to 0.10, the dispersability of isolated soy protein drops to 60 per cent.

As mentioned earlier, water quality is a key factor in the functionality of the solution. Specifically, calcium and magnesium are the two key divalent ions that producers want to avoid in the water when hydrating soy protein.

Emulsification is very important for homogeneity. In the case of a neutral beverage, protein with a higher emulsion capacity (grams of fat per millilitre of protein that a solution can encapsulate) is the best choice to use in formulation.

High acid: The V8 Splash Smoothie is a high-acid beverage that is becoming increasingly popular for consumers. Flavour, colour and the stabiliser system are even more important for these types of beverages than in other beverages. Interestingly, soy protein is very compatible with the fruit flavours generally found in these high-acid beverages. In fact, soy protein in general has less of a ?cooked? note than dairy protein, which means soy lends itself well to these types of flavours.

As far as colour is concerned, the vitamin and mineral fortification of these products, such as adding vitamin C, may negatively affect the colour of the end product. Therefore, producers should keep a close eye on colour but also proactively work with vitamin and mineral providers to ensure that the colour of the end product is correct.

With high-acid beverages, the stabiliser system also is key because, in using soy protein, producers technically are working against nature during formulation. In general, protein is not soluble in an acid environment. Therefore, the stabiliser system must be able to suspend the protein without sediment.

Without further processing, the typical isoelectric point for soy protein is pH 4.5, which makes it less soluble than more positively charged ingredients. Formulators should check to make sure soy protein ingredients manufacturers can further process the soy to an isoelectric point of pH 2.0—which would greatly improve solubility.

Homogenisation is always recommended in acid-beverage formulations. And because most high-acid beverages use juice as a main ingredient, the consumer expects the beverage to look, feel and taste like regular juice. Again, this comparison is a hurdle formulators must overcome to produce a successful high-acid beverage product.

Although each beverage formulation finds in soy both positive attributes as well as challenges to work around, the future of soy-ingredient formulation leaves me with a lot of optimism about the next advances in formulation. Through technology and key learnings, leading companies will continue to exceed the expectations of their customers and ultimately, of the end consumer by providing convenient, everyday foods that taste incredible and have the added health benefits of soy protein.

Jimbin Mai, PhD, is a director of applied sciences at The Solae Company. Respond:

1. The FoodlineWeb Newsletter. Leatherhead Food International Limited. 2002 March.

2. Rudolph MJ. A scoopful of nutrition: enriching ice cream with fish oil. Innov in Food Tech 2001;(13):69-70.

3. Morrissey PA, et al. Use of microencapsulated fish oil as a means of increasing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. J Hum Nutrit and Diet 1999;12(4):265-71.?

4. Belluzzi A, et al. Effects of new fish oil derivative on fatty acid phospholipid-membrane pattern in a group of Crohn?s disease patients. Dig Dis Sci 1994;39(12):2589-94.


Thirsty Market For Kids’ Beverages

America’s children are drinking up a new wave of healthy beverages, from juices to soymilk to dairy-based liquid refreshments.

Healthy beverages and yogurts for children now account for a hefty $37.5 million in annual sales for Stonyfield Farm Inc. (Londonderry, N.H.). According to Vice President of Communiciations Cathleen Toomey, Stonyfield reaped $26 million in sales from its organic YoBaby drinks and multi-packs, $20.8 million in smoothies, $5.7 in kids multi-pack yogurts, and $5 million in Squeezers (drinkable organic yogurts in single-serve tubes). “The dairy beverage meal replacement category has just gone through the roof,” said Toomey. “It’s an entirely new segment of the market.”

Stonyfield entered the children’s maket in 1999 with Yo Baby, the first yogurt for infants. “It has been wildly successful,” Toomey said of the organic whole milk yogurt designed to meet infant needs for brain development. Stonyfield introduced Yo Baby Drinkable Yogurt this year. Designed for use in sippy cups and to help Moms control portion sizes, the drinkable organic yogurt comes in a resealable 24-ounce bottle. “That’s been a huge market for us,” Toomey said of the new entry, which is distributed nationally in natural product stores and grocery stores.

Children have also unexpectedly gravitated towards Stonyfield’s Smoothie, a drinkable yogurt. “Next to Yo Baby, it’s the second most successful new product we’ve done in the last five years,” said Toomey. The line, launched in 2002, features six-ounce and eight-ounce smoothies in a variety of flavors. Also successful is Stonyfield Farm Kids, a kids’ multi-pack of six four-ounce, natural and organic yogurt servings for children. “These have more intense flavoring for kids,” Toomey said.

Now, Stonyfield has combined its children’s products with nutritious offerings from other companies. “We’ve created the first healthy vending machine,” Toomey said. In addition to Stonyfield products, the vending machines contain other items including organic milk, soymilk, carrots and dips from Earthbound Farms, Wilson’s Fruit Leather, Stacy’s Pita Chips and Robert’s Pirate Booty. “This past fall, we launched in Rhode Island. It’s done phenomenally well” in middle schools and high schools. “We have a waiting list of 250 schools that want to continue this and we are launching it in several more states right now.”

Silk Offered by School Districts
The market for nutritious children’s beverages and foods is poised for growth, says Todd Beckman, vice president of business development at White Wave, a Dean Foods company. “At the end of the day, everybody is working on this—whether it’s Coke or Pepsi or Kraft.” Maker of Silk, the leading refrigerated soymilk, White Wave faces special challenges when it comes to attracting kids. “When kids have a choice to buy, soymilk isn’t top of mind,” Beckman agreed.

The solution is two-fold: Appeal to parents and offer free samples so that children can try Silk’s new Very Vanilla as well as the brand’s popular chocolate flavor (the number two selling chocolate beverage in America, after Nestle’s Quick). “Soymilk is still on the fringes of the mainstream,” said Beckman. White Wave has provided samples to kids in high schools and elementary schools, selling products in 8-ounce aseptic lunchbox cartons in some schools. “We’re really fishing—putting it in front of kids and getting them to taste it.”

When kids try Silk’s flavored soy beverages, like chocolate and Very Vanilla, the result has been “decent, sustainable sales” in some locations. But in others, where kids aren’t familiar with soy or, worse, have tried a competitor’s product and didn’t like it, Beckman said, “the results were not earthshaking.” Currently, White Wave is conducting trials in three regions of the U.S. In one area, soy beverages are offered to children enrolled in free or reduced cost lunch programs. “The steady state consumption or takeaway on the line is well into double-digit numbers,” said Beckman.

The company does not actively solicit school districts to carry Silk. But Beckman added, “When a school district is requesting it, then we go out and help them. It’s a pull, not a push at this point. When we get pull, what we look for is a champion within the district. This is the person who will shepherd Silk through the system, make sure it’s in stock... Their reputation lies on our success.”

Very Vanilla, launched in January, mark’s White Wave’s first serious attempt to appeal to children. “In the past, we haven’t marketed much to kids,” said Beckman. “Right now we’re working on getting placement of our product before we market.” Very Vanilla will be sold in both natural product retailers as well as in mainstream grocery stores. “We will be in at least 40-50% of grocery stores before the end of summer,” Beckman predicted.

When advertising begins, efforts will be focused primarily on parents. “We are trying to market this to Mom,” said Beckman, adding that nutritious values (such as calcium fortification and low sugar content) will be emphasized as well as taste. The company has hired Berlin Cameron, a well-known advertising agency that has won national advertising awards for the past two years. “We are planning on a full media hit,” Beckman said. “We know there are a lot of households that have basically one consumer using our product. We want to find out how to reach more.”

The company opted for transitional copy on Very Vanilla packaging. “This is more kid-oriented but without going over the top,” said Beckman. “We are pushing the envelope a little bit to see how far we can go down the copy continuum without losing the adult consumer.”

The company is striving to discover what non-commercial ideas interest kids, such as animals, science or games, without turning off older customers. “You have to have something on the package for kids so you get the pester power, yet if you have too much, you can lose” adult consumers, Beckman said. “We’re not about pizzazz or getting Pokeman on the carton. It’s more about getting Mom interested.”

Retailers on Board With Tropicana’s Fast-Growing ‘Healthy Kids’
Tropicana Products Inc., owned by PepsiCo, introduced Healthy Kids 100% orange juice approximately 18 months ago. “It was one of our fastest-growing products after launch,” said Carla McGill, nutrition scientist at Tropicana (Bradenton, Fla.). “It’s in all of our big customers—Kroeger, Publix, Costco, Albertson’s.”

Recognizing a healthy market for beverages targeted to children, Tropicana researched a variety of sources, including the USDA database. “We looked at nutrients that are low in kids’ diets and matched that with what we could put in Pure Premium, then matched that with what moms thought kids needed,” McGill explained.

Healthy Kids targets children ages 6-12. In addition to vitamin C found naturally in orange juice, the product has been fortified with vitamins A, E and calcium. “Almost two-thirds of kids don’t get the calcium that they need,” said McGill. “No surprise, mirroring adults, 90% of kids don’t get their servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”

Tropicana highlights the benefits of calcium to build strong bones and teeth in youngsters, as well as the merits of antioxidants for a healthy immune system. In addition, McGill noted, “We highlight the taste—and we do tweak the ingredients so that it is a smoother taste that kids love.”

Tropicana focuses its marketing efforts for Healthy Kids on mothers, using the taglines “The taste they love, the peace of mind you need” and “Essential nutrition for growing children.” TV commercials and print ads in parenting magazine helped boost sales when the product was launched.

Healthy Kids has since been incorporated into Tropicana’s Essentials line, which contains four additional products for adults: Low Acid, Light ‘n Healthy, Immunity Defense, and Healthy Heart. “These products are based on real consumer needs,” McGill concluded.


Mass Market Kids Vitamins Face Growing Competition

NBJ estimates that supplements for children have amounted to between $400-500 million in sales in the United States since 2000. Growth has been fairly modest in the competitive and established mass market multivitamin brands, but significant activity has occurred in natural channels, private label and other categories like herbs and specialty supplements. Accounting for all channels of distribution, NBJ estimates children’s multivitamins at $340 million in 2003. The mass market accounts for the majority of these sales, but greater product innovation, sales growth and category development is occurring in natural channels.

According to IRI data cited in Nicholas Hall’s market report on vitamins and minerals published in the January 2004 issue of Insight magazine, children’s multivitamins generated U.S. FDM sales of $99.7 million in 2003. (Scanned sales exclude WalMart, club stores, convenience and some other mass outlets.) However, comparison year-toyear of this data indicated sales were up 4% for the mass market brands compared to flat growth in 2002. Bayer’s Flintstones led with sales of $30 million captured in IRItracked FDM compared to a 3% decline in 2002. Insight also cited data on ad spends for Flintstones of $17 million in 2003, implying much higher overall sales than $30 million. Cartoon characters have been shuffled and relaunched, with Bayer introducing My First Flintstones in January 2001. Aimed at younger kids, this brand has been enjoying better growth than regular Flintstones, Insight reported. Bayer’s One-A-Day Kids was renamed One-A-Day Kids Extreme Sport. Bayer also relaunched Bugs Bunny as One-A-Day Bugs Bunny and introduced Scooby Doo. Second-ranked brand, Wyeth’s Centrum Kids, was relaunched as Jimmy Neutron and Rugrats, which together had FDM sales of $13 million, according to Insight. Third biggest marketshare in FDM belonged to Mead Johnson’s Poly-Vi-Sol and Tri-Vi-Sol.

While the leading mass market brands strive to tweak sales from a marketing perspective, the channel has not be devoid of product innovation. One of the most eyecatching launches in the mass market was Vitaball by Amerifit Nutrition in March 2002. Insight reported close to $1 million in FDM sales in 2002 for the gumball fortified with 100% RDA of 11 vitamins, and $3 million in the 12 months ended October 2003.

Increasing awareness will boost carotenoid market

A report on the European carotenoids market by analyst Frost and Sullivan has highlighted the potential of relatively new entrants such as lycopene and lutein, while warning that public awareness must be raised if this potential is to be reached.

The growing interest in functional foods is driving demand for these new carotenoids, the report says. More traditional carotenoids such as beta-carotene, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, which still account for the bulk of the $348.5 million European market, were used predominantly as animal feed and colourants. The market is expected to grow to $420 million by 2010.

?Low consumer awareness of the health benefits of carotenoids particularly affects the newer, naturally extracted carotenoids lycopene, lutein and natural beta-carotene,? said food research manager Anna Ibbotson. ?The challenge is to educate consumers.?

Despite these reservations, the report predicts the supplements and fortified foods sector of the carotenoids market to be the fastest growing in the next seven years, with revenue shares increasing from 18.2 per cent to 27 per cent.

Lutein?s excellent awareness
One company that has excelled in the awareness area is Kemin, to which Frost and Sullivan awarded a Brand Awareness Development Award for its work in promoting its FloraGlo lutein brand. Through innovative marketing and strategic partnerships in the supplements, functional foods and cosmeceuticals industries, Kemin has helped raise lutein awareness to around 50 per cent in the US and about 20 per cent in Europe.

?Of course it could always be better, but we are quite satisfied with the awareness levels in European countries,? said Kemin marketing manager, Pedro Vieira. ?The market is ready to expand. We are looking at opportunities in some new sectors but mostly we are consolidating our position on dietary supplements and ocular health. There will be some major supplement products coming out soon that will further raise the profile of lutein.?

Driving demand
An increased emphasis on personal health and an ageing population seeking preventive health measures would drive carotenoid demand, the report notes. Carotenoids reduce the risk of degenerative diseases, prevent cardiac ailments, combat cancers such as prostate cancer and boost immune function. The report noted high entry barriers have stabilised the number of market participants at about 30 companies, with two leading companies—DSM Nutritionals and BASF—controlling 75 per cent of the total carotenoids market and dominating the three largest segments of the industry. These three areas are beta-carotene, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. Smaller players proliferate in the lutein and lycopene markets.

?In the past it was just beta-carotene but now there is a whole spectrum of carotenoids available to consumers, all with their own specific benefit. I think they will all carve out a market for themselves,? said Joost Overeem, the European sales manager of Israeli-based lycopene supplier Lycored.

How to replace white sugar in recipes

White sugar

Alternative sweetener

1 cup =

1-1/2 cups barley malt
(Reduce liquid in recipe by 1–2 tablespoons)

1 cup =

1-1/2 cups brown rice syrup
(Reduce liquid in recipe by 1–2 tablespoons)

1 cup =

1 cup date sugar

1 cup =

1/2 cup honey
(Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)

1 cup =

1/2–3/4 cup molasses, depending on taste
(Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)

1 cup =

1-1/2 – 2 tablespoons stevia

1 cup =

1 cup sucanat



Customers Shy Away from Condition-Specific Marketing

Health-oriented projects represent around three-quarters of business at the Food and Beverage Technology division of TIAX LLC (formerly Arthur D. Little’s Technology & Innovation business). Interestingly, despite having access to a variety of health claims, food manufacturers are tending to shy away from linking products to specific health conditions in favor of appealing to the widest possible circle of consumers, according to Kathie Wrick, division principal.

“As [manufacturers] get closer to offering a product to manage certain conditions, they creep into medical foods and drug law. From a consumer perspective, they just don’t want to be reminded [about disease],” said Wrick.

“It’s been a long time since a client said, ‘We want a product for heart health or prostate health,’” observed Colleen Zammer, principal. Even manufacturers with products containing enough soy protein to make the NLEA heart health claim are now just as as likely to elect not to make that claim. “Consumers know soy is good for you,” said Zammer. And that, apparently, is enough for many manufacturers.

Ironically, demand for food products formulated with soy ingredients is being driven by the low-carb, high-protein diet trend more than the desire to position products around heart health or women’s health, Zammer observed. (Soy is often used to replace starch in low-carbohydrate products.) Whereas a couple of years ago TIAX’s food and beverage technology division had no projects in the low-carb arena, today it represents about half of business. In addition to soy, sales of whey ingredients, resistant starch and sugar substitutes are also benefiting from efforts to introduce or reformulate foods with low-carb appeal.

Brewing up the hot beverage category

Shane Starling explores the challenges of marketing teas and other hot drinks to a younger generation and assesses stimulating new developments in the coffee market

When it comes to functional hot beverages, most consumers will probably think of specialty teas: green teas, white teas, chai teas, herbal teas. Tea is, after all, the most popular beverage in the world—not including water.

Drinks consultancy Zenith estimates worldwide tea consumption at 54 litres per person, followed by carbonates and milk. Most teas have a functional aspect, whether it is their inherent antioxidant properties, or whether they are enhanced by the fortification of vitamins, minerals or herbs. Specialty teas continue to find their most receptive audience among core health consumers who are receptive to their healthful messages. But they are slowly entering the mainstream where they can be found in a growing number of major supermarkets.

It?s about time, says Brian Keating, founder of industry consultancy, the Sage Group, which publishes ?Tea is Hot?, an annual report on the US and international tea markets. ?Tea has been an unsexy, undervalued drink in the form of black teas and green teas,? he observes. ?Herbal teas are quite hip but very niche. Now tea people are starting to look at what they do and saying, ?My God, we?re a functional beverage without getting dressed up and going anywhere?,? he states. ?There is so much research out there. Tea companies are seeing that they are sitting on a portfolio of goodies—phytoconstituents they never dreamed of. Now they need to work on marketing themselves.?

People are interested in herbal teas for a variety of reasons, says Lynn Painter of UK-based Dragonfly Teas, which makes a range of specialty teas including an organic white tea and a line that blends traditional black teas such as earl grey and English breakfast with rooibos. ?Some people are looking for antioxidants, some want less caffeine, and some prefer low tannins. Then there are people who just like the taste. Tea is a good way to give up caffeine because you get the flavour without the caffeine.?

Green tea growing
Market analyst Datamonitor estimates British green tea consumption increased more than 20 fold between 1997 and 2002. In the same period, black tea bag consumption fell from 127 to 114 million kg, while herbal and fruit tea use grew 50 per cent.

While straight green tea is one of the biggest sellers, Jeremy Dunn, design and marketing manager at UK-based tea producer Clipper Teas, notes white tea has entered the public?s consciousness. ?When we launched it just over a year ago, little attention was paid to it, but that has changed very quickly. There has been a lot of talk about white tea in the press and that has made our job much easier. The common public perception of white tea is that it is clean, very low in caffeine and high in antioxidants. We add ingredients to some of them and the functional ones have flavours added as well to boost their flavour profiles. But we do this only because we put enough of the functional ingredient in there to make sure it is actually functional.? The company is about to launch a range of white teas with added ingredients such as echinacea and ginseng.

Dunn says a sea change is occurring, albeit a subtle one. ?I don?t think mainstream consumers are moving to exclusively drinking green tea. People are buying specialist teas in addition to their regular black teas. More and more people have more teas in their cupboard. They?ve got an everyday tea but they also have specialty teas for special occasions.?

Japan is one of the most advanced hot functional beverages markets. Datamoni-tor?s 2002 figures show the average Japanese spent $65 annually on all hot beverages, the most in the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong was next ($36) with Australia third ($32).

Japanese market specialist Paul Yamaguchi, of Paul Yamaguchi & Associates, notes there are literally hundreds of ready-to-drink teas in Japanese supermarkets, vending machines and other outlets, although many of them are of the chilled tonic variety that are becoming increasingly popular in Western markets the world over. Hot herbal teas marketed specifically at those with diabetes, or those with cardiovascular concerns or high blood pressure, are beginning to appear on the market, he notes.

A new take on coffee
Coffee, on the other hand, is not seen as a functional drink in most parts of the world, despite its stimulant properties. Hot chocolate is similarly considered even if a recent well-publicised Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study showed cocoa had better antioxidant potential than green and black tea and red wine. Cargill?s Wilbur Chocolate division plans a sugar-free line of chocolate based on erythritol and inulin that may lend functionality to hot chocolate beverages in the future, but for now it remains an underdeveloped sector as far as functionality goes.

Similarly, coffee is rarely marketed on the basis of its functional properties and that includes its most obvious functional characteristic—as a stimulant. It is almost as if the stimulant quality of coffee can be enjoyed but not spoken of. Perhaps this is to do with its homely image and the ubiquity of its consumption—the average American consumes a mammoth 3.3 cups of coffee per day, although, according to Datamonitor, Brazilians and Scandinavians drink even more. San Diego-based Nutrition Business Journal puts the US functional tea and coffee market at just over $1 billion in 2002.

New technologies are opening up fresh marketing angles for traditional beverages like coffee. A Texas-based company, Applied Food Sciences, has developed a patented coffee roasting process, HealthyRoast, which boosts the antioxidant count of brewed coffee in comparison to regular coffee. It does this by pre-soaking green coffee beans to drain much of their antioxidant content and then soaking the roasted beans in this same liquid to return many of the antioxidants to the end product. ?It?s a 100 per cent natural process that does not affect the taste and aroma of brewed coffee,? says AFS chief executive officer Loretta Zapp.

AFS has linked up with specialty roaster, California-based Black Mountain Gold, and will have product in health stores early this year. ?We know we have a tricky path to negotiate to take this into the mainstream,? Zapp states, ?and we need to be gentle or they might reject it without giving it a chance. The consumer seems to have a pretty good handle on the fact that antioxidants are good for you, but there is little understanding of how they function. The product will be marketed in such a way to ensure that consumers understand that a cup of HealthyRoast coffee is just like a cup of tea as far as delivering health-promoting antioxidants.?

Antioxidant awareness is low
Donald Wilkes, president/CEO of California-based flavour manufacturer Blue Pacific Flavors, believes the antioxidant sell needs to be amplified. ?People talk about the health benefits but you have to do it in a lifestyle approach. People might be interested in the health benefits of green tea, but antioxidant awareness is low. People might know they are healthy for you, but they won?t know how or why. Part of the solution is creating an education platform.?

One company not shying away from coffee?s stimulant potential is UK-based Rocket Fuel, which makes a ready-to-drink self-heating espresso. Not content with the caffeine content, they infuse it with guarana. Rocket Fuel is marketing itself as a rival to energy drinks like Red Bull and is aimed squarely at ?fast-living 18- to 35-year-old consumers who demand high quality premium beverages to fit in with their fast moving lifestyles,? says the company.

Aside from its functionality, the product is also being sold on its high-convenience factor for both the consumer and the retailer. ?You can use it anywhere,? says Rocket Fuel spokesperson Ed Chapman. ?You can open it while you are travelling, at home, in the car. Basically it is a coffee machine in your hand. Retailers can sell the product just by putting it on the shelf. They don?t need any coffee-making equipment whatsoever.?

Starbucks promoting functional drinks
One chain of outlets that is very much in the business of coffee-making is Starbucks. Depending on how you view it, Starbucks and other coffee-house chains have either benefited from, or precipitated, a move away from instant, home-made coffee. ?While we may focus on health and convenience more than ever, we are no longer willing to settle for something that?s fast or caffeine-free but unpleasant,? says Datamonitor consumer analyst, John Band. ?People increasingly prefer to pay for a take-out of premium coffee, rather than making instant at home.?

Starbucks has promoted a range of specialty coffees and teas that have done much to broaden the hot beverage palette of many Western consumers, especially Americans. The Seattle-based multinational bought out specialty tea maker, Tazo Tea Company, and although its tea sales only account for a minute percentage of its total revenues, it is an important part of its platform as a beverage innovator. That?s why Starbucks has signed an agreement with a company like White Wave to bring a soy latte drink to the US mass market.

?Silk (White Wave?s soymilk brand) has made a deal with Starbucks and that is the merging of two strong brands, says Wilkes. ?Soy has done a great job of appearing to be healthier than dairy. I see lines of coffee-based soy products coming out soon. You might even get a soy coffee chain. It?s a very significant move as it shows that soymilk has become a mainstream category.?

According to Sage?s Keating, Starbucks has become the ?largest daily vendor of Chai tea on the planet.? Starbucks? influence cannot be underestimated, he says, noting their immense marketing muscle and unparalleled worldwide exposure. ?They can do a lot to sway the future perception of a functional beverage. They are moving millions of dollars of functional beverages every day—particularly Tazo chai and soy lattes. They also do a chai soy latte that is selling well. A lot of people are trying to make chai tea the cappuccino or latte of the new century. Getting young people to drink tea is the challenge. There are many young people with high incomes so if tea can be made hip and trendier it can break out of its traditional 40-plus female demographic.?

He adds: ?Anybody involved in specialty tea should pay attention to Starbucks because they have the ability to own a significant share of tea. They can make statements about nutrition and the health aspects of tea that many of these companies can?t make and they have incredible distribution with thousands of outlets. Although Starbucks teas seem to be a sealed deal with Tazo, watch it for trends. They are going to drive the market and open up a lot of consciousness for tea and functionality in all hot beverages.?

US specialty tea manufacturers needed to get up to speed on health claims, especially now that the system has been liberalised by the Food and Drug Administration, he warns. ?Tea people have never operated in the area of claims ? most of them don?t even know what DSHEA is,? says Keating. ?That?s why we?ve put together some information with a regulatory expert so they can get moving in the claims area.?

More than coffee
The very fact that a heavyweight like Starbucks is introducing non-coffee products is a sign of things to come, according to Philip Samuel, chairman and managing director of Indian ingredient supplier Indfrag, which supplies its ingredients worldwide and has a healthy trade into the US. ?Teas are mostly sold on the visual and taste appeal,? he observes. ?There are new ingredients coming onto the market that will have sufficient power to make the beverages deliver the promised functionality.?

Such ingredients will not be affected by brewing issues, a fact that should allow their healthful benefits to be exploited more fully. ?Concentrated extracts will have standardised activity and since they dissolve quickly, it won?t matter how long the tea is brewed for. The challenge is to preserve a good taste.?

Ah, taste—the foundation without which nothing can be built. ?If the formulators do not deliver taste, then a lot of these functional beverages will go the way of decaffeinated coffee,? predicts Wilkes. ?Obsolescence.?

Tea makers looking to tap the US market would do well to move with caution, he warns. ?We are very immature in the US when it comes to specialty teas. It is a much more developed market in Europe and in particular the UK. They understand the differences between good and bad tea. Because of that immaturity, I don?t see tea growing so fast on the functional side because there is still so far to go on the specialty tea side.? He forecasts hot beverages marketed on their low-carb potential, perhaps based on soy or even regular milk.

Is red wine a youth potion?

Recent research indicates that resveratrol, found in red grapes, extends the life of yeast cells by 70 per cent. Can this result be duplicated in humans? And do supplements work as well as a bottle of red wine? Bill Sardi reports

Man?s pursuit of long life, the so-called fountain of youth, edged closer to fruition with the recent announcement that a dietary component may increase the human lifespan to the point where it would be common to live 125 years. This red-coloured youth potion can be obtained from a bottle of vino, and perhaps as a dietary supplement.

Lead researcher David Sinclair, PhD, assistant professor of pathology at Harvard University Medical School, says the lifespan of all life forms tested so far—yeast cells, fruit flies, worms and mice—has been dramatically lengthened by minute amounts of a red wine extract, resveratrol.

The skin of red wine is the most abundant source of resveratrol, a unique antioxidant that red grapes produce in great amounts as a defence against fungi. The process of winemaking utilises alcohol to extract resveratrol (or 3,4,5-trihydroxystilbene) and then preserves it in an airtight bottle; otherwise it would vanish in days.

Mechanisms of action
Since 1935, researchers have recognised that severe restriction of calories can significantly broaden the lifespan of insects, animals and probably humans.1 The mechanism behind calorie restriction appears to be a survival factor that is turned on when living organisms are exposed to harsh conditions. When a living organism is deprived of calories, the sirtuin gene upregulates the activity of an enzyme (histone deacetylase) that prolongs the time cells have in which to repair their damaged genetic material, their strands of DNA. The enzymatic activity also ?silences? genes responsible for protein production (ribosomal DNA). Therefore, resveratrol inhibits the over-production of proteins within cells that leads to accelerated ageing. Aged cells typically produce hundreds of thousands of extra copies of ribosomal DNA. The accumulation of these proteins in living cells has been likened to an ageing clock. Slowing down the rate at which proteins are produced slows the rate of ageing itself.

Sinclair began to research the dynamics of this survival mechanism. A family of iron-controlling antioxidant molecules was screened for its ability to increase the activity of the enzyme. From a library of thousands of molecules, 17 activated the human survival/longevity gene. Resveratrol, the extract obtained from red wine, did indeed turn on the survival switch and extend the life of yeast cells by 70 per cent. In human terms, that would be equivalent to 30 to 50 years of added life! Resveratrol was superior to the 16 other molecules tested.2

The uniqueness of resveratrol may be partly explained by the fact it is utilised by cells and orally absorbed by humans better than other antioxidants found in grapes.3

Humans have a similar gene, SIRT1, responsible for activating the same enzyme. The enzyme itself cannot be bottled because to work, it has to be delivered to cells at the right place and time. Cells have machinery to increase enzyme activity on their own. What Sinclair discovered was the dietary switch to turn on this mechanism. What grapes use to turn on this survival mechanism, the calorie restriction mimic, can be transferred to humans in a glass of wine, a cross-species transfer process scientists now call xenohormesis.4

Plant variability
Plants produce resveratrol in response to environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation (UV-C), fungal infection and temperature changes.5

In Spain, researchers have developed a method to intentionally expose red grapes to artificial ultraviolet radiation (UV-C) after harvest in order to enhance reservatrol content.6 In general, the concentration of resveratrol in red wine is up to 10 times greater than in white wine.7 But even among red wines, the concentration of resveratrol can vary by a factor of 20.8 Wine processing that utilises macerated red grapes, for example, yields more resveratrol.

Because moisture and humidity foster fungal growth, and resveratrol is produced in greater quantity in response to infectious agents, the resveratrol concentration in red wine grapes is greater in northern latitudes than southern. So, wines from New York or Canada provide more resveratrol than wines produced in California, France or Italy.9 Among the varieties of red wine, numerous studies confirm that pinot noir provides the highest amounts of resveratrol.10 However, growing and harvesting conditions as well as winemaking practices greatly influence the resveratrol content in bottled wine.

While plants may contain resveratrol, this protective antioxidant must be extracted from its source to

be bioavailable to humans. The winemaking process utilises the fermentation process to produce an alcohol extract of resveratrol. Alcohol extracts resveratrol from grapes better than water, glycerine or stomach acids. Red wine is just an alcohol extract as a beverage.

Another abundant natural source of resveratrol is the giant knotweed plant (Polygonum sachalinense, P. cuspidatum), also known as fo-ti or he-shou-wu in China. It is grown commercially in China for production of resveratrol in dietary supplements. In Japan a variety of knotweed plant is used to make Itadori tea, a non-alcohol source of resveratrol.11

Supplements fall short
Dietary supplements providing resveratrol from red wine or knotweed are available. Surprisingly, tests conducted at Harvard University by Sinclair have failed to find any significant biological activity in resveratrol dietary supplements in tablets, capsules or as liquid herbal extracts.12 Leroy Creasy, PhD, a professor of plant science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, reported that resveratrol supplements failed to exhibit much biological activity—evidenced by the ability to activate an enzyme that promotes DNA repair and lengthen the life of yeast cells—compared to wine, but apparently his report went unnoticed by manufacturers. Creasy claims it would take thousands of capsules of resveratrol to provide the equivalent amount of resveratrol found in a glass of red pinot noir wine.13 Encapsulation fails to duplicate the airtight environment found in a wine bottle, which preserves the resveratrol.

Although studies are lacking that show resveratrol in pills work, resveratrol appears to work in wine, and also under laboratory conditions as a pure 100 per cent molecule, produced under nitrogen and preserved in part by refrigeration.

However, a relatively new technology called Licaps, developed by Capsugel specifically for liquid ingredients, fills gelatin capsules in a nitrogen rather than an oxygen environment and seals dietary supplements ingredients in an airtight pill. A nitrogen bubble inside the capsule also retards any spoilage. Licaps technology is being utilised to produce the first stabilised red wine extract, which has demonstrated biological activity, showcasing the need for special measures that should be undertaken in the manufacture of resveratrol supplements.

Small amounts work
How much resveratrol is needed to produce healthy ageing? A small amount of resveratrol was found to increase the survival of yeast cells by three-fold even when the cells were exposed to ionising radiation.14 Mega doses of resveratrol do not produce greater longevity and in fact may work in an opposite manner and become problematic to genes. Three five-ounce glasses of red wine per day, which provide about 3mg resveratrol, would be sufficient for humans to achieve enzyme activity levels equivalent to those achieved in the laboratory. However, much higher amounts of resveratrol have been used successfully in animal tests for treating cancer.15

Bill Sardi is a health journalist writing from San Dimas, California. His new book, The Anti-Aging Pill, is available at Bill Sardi has a commercial interest in a resveratrol company.

1. Heilbronn LK, Ravussin E. Calorie restriction and aging: review of the literature and implications for studies in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Sep;78:361-9.

2. Howitz KT, et al. Small molecule activators of sirtuins extend Saccharomyces cerevisiae lifespan. Nature 2003;425:191-6.

3. Soleas GJ, et al. A comparison of the anticarcinogenic properties of four red wine polyphenols, Clin Biochem 2002;35:119-24.

4. Hall SS. In vino vitalis? Compounds activate life-extending genes, Science 2003;301:1165.

5. Roemer K, Mahyar-Roemer M. The basis for the chemopreventive action of resveratrol. Drugs Today 2002;38:571-80.

6. Cantos E, et al. Postharvest induction modeling method using UV irradiation pulses for obtaining resveratrol-enriched table grapes: a new ?functional? fruit, J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:5052-8.

7. Sato M, et al. Contents of resveratrol, piceid, and their isomers in commercially available wines made from grapes cultivated in Japan, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1997;61:1800-5.

8. Burns J, et al. Plant foods and herbal sources of resveratrol, J Agr Food Chem 2002;50:3337-40.

9. Threlfall RT, Jorris JR. Effect of viticultural and enological methods on the resveratrol content of wines, Cool Climate Symposium, New York 1996, 6:100-2.

10. Friedlander BP Jr. Higher levels of resveratrol found among NY red wines. Cornell Chronicle 1998:2:5.

11. Siemann EH, Creasy LL. Concentration of the phytoalexin resveratrol in wine. Am J Enol Vitic 1992;43:49-52.

12. Personal communication, David Sinclair, PhD, December 2003.

13. Personal communication, Leroy Creasy PhD, Cornell University (retired), November 2003.

14. Zoberi I, et al. Radiosensitizing and anti-proliferative effects of resveratrol in two human cervical tumor cell lines, Cancer Lett 2002;175:165-73.

15. Kimura Y, Okuda H. Resveratrol isolated from Polygonum cuspidatum root prevents tumor growth and metastasis to lung and tumor-induced neovascularization in Lewis lung carcinoma-bearing mice. J Nutr 2001;131:1844-9.