Natural Products Insider

NOV-DEC 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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104 INSIDER November/December 2018 The adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is not always true. The rapid development of technology that resembles science fi ction has changed consumer behavior and may eventually eradicate age-related disease. And it all starts at the source— ingredients that come from the earth. "Gone are the days where there was no proper way to fi gure out what came from where and when in a matter of seconds because the technology to support such a question didn't exist," said Trinanjan Gupta, founder and managing partner, DreamWeaver LLC. Pointing to sophisticated means such as cloud computing, internet of things (IoT) and blockchain, Gupta added, farmers in any part of the globe may use their mobile devices to scan and enter product details, which are then shared anywhere else via cloud computing infrastructure. Blockchain technology ensures that this data is genuine and maintains an audit trail to confi rm it's genuine. This was not possible as recently as fi ve years ago. IoT sensors provide the potential of unlimited tracking changes in the ecology of a watershed, pointed out Brecht Deriemaeker, science and engineering lead at the global ecosystem marketplace Regen Network, because they can stream an ecological state to the network daily, hourly or even every minute. Hand-held devices enable farmers to upload crucial data points to the network. Imagine, he noted, what becomes possible when farmers around the globe upload a continual collection of data points: a much clearer understanding of the science and environmental impact of enhanced agricultural methods. "Specifi c advancements in the ability of satellites to give us information about the activities and health of production on the ground will change the way we relate to our supply and will provide us with the data to truly understand the impact of our purchasing decisions," Deriemaeker added. "This data will be visualized in a way that allows consumers to easily understand how their purchasing power contributes to the degradation or regeneration of this planet." Christian Shearer, co-founder and executive director at Regen Network, also sees blockchain technology as distinctive in how it has altered the face of transactions, noting, "Blockchain technology opens a whole new way of doing business that doesn't revolve around centralized organizations that act as intermediaries, and it enables inexpensive and easy payments based on 'smart contracts.' This technology now makes it feasible and easy for brands and consumers to create direct incentives with producers." And about the ingredients proper—not only is the industry better at quantifying levels of actives, there's movement on the forefront of improving ability to increase those actives—gene editing. In the viewpoint of Leena Pradhan-Nabzdyk, Ph.D., CEO, Canomiks Inc., gene editing is "the most exciting research in the last two years." For example, she cited a recent study that demonstrated an increase in the lycopene content of tomatoes by using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) gene-editing technology (Front Plant Sci. 2018. Apr 26;9:559). "Similar work could be done in numerous other plants to precisely edit genes responsible for increasing the yield of the active ingredient, or to minimize susceptibility to disease or environmental stresses," she theorized. Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., food scientist and principal, Corvus Blue LLC, explained CRISPR is "giving science the chance to press the reset button on genetic modifi cation and repair. The potential for using plants to produce needed nutrients in quantity and with greater bioavailability is truly staggering." Plants—or rather the increasingly sophisticated ways and means of processing them—are creating new and exciting food innovations as alternatives to more conventional products that large groups of people stay away from, either due to allergies or dietary restrictions. Shelke pointed to advances in ingredient- processing technologies that are creating an attractively disparate ingredient range for analogs of animal-based (or soy, dairy/ whey) food favorites for millions of consumers. Production process streamlining with innovative technology is expediting delivery of ingredients for those products to consumers. Some manufacturers are innovating their own equipment to better streamline their products and create savings in time and capital investment, according to Peggy Jackson, vice president of sales and marketing for IngredientsOnline.com, a global business- to-business (B2B) e-commerce marketplace. "We're also seeing new factories, scheduled to begin shipping ingredients in 2019, that have been designed with cutting-edge technology to create effi ciencies and sustainability," she explained. "By using the waste from one production process as the starting material for the next process, these mini cities are displaying advanced capabilities that will produce their own electricity, treat their own water and be easier on the environment." Solving Challenges In ingredient research and development (R&D), Canomiks' expertise is in understanding the gene networks of chronic conditions; it has identifi ed the Technology | Technological innovations facilitate product and/or service development, such as using DNA to create new ingredients or using blockchain to streamline supply chains. | Consumers consume increasing amounts of information as well as products, and new sites and apps help them get a world of information about products instantaneously. | Personalized nutrition is driven both by research that shows nutrients affect everyone differently and by more brands using blood and DNA tests to craft individualized products. Tech-sploration by Lisa Schofi eld INSIDER's Take

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