Natural Products Insider

MAY-JUN 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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34 INSIDER May/June 2018 ingredients is that, while they bring benefi ts with them, they don't always taste great," Piggott explained. "Proteins can bring mealy, sour or bitter off-notes, depending on the protein source; individual amino acids can carry some lovely 'wet dog' kinds of notes; vitamins and minerals can bring metallic and chalky notes; certain botanicals can add earthy notes. When you try sugar reduction on top of adding functional ingredients, you can also end up adding bitter, metallic notes and a lasting sweet linger from high-intensity sweeteners that may not be desirable." Taste considerations are only part of the battle. Vicky Fligel, senior product manager of functional systems at Glanbia Nutritionals, added, "There are also processing challenges around stability. It's extremely important to work with ingredients specifi cally that can withstand certain heating conditions and provide a certain level of stability (color, fl avor, suspension) over [the product's] shelf life." And then there's solubility, an issue Dill said is unique to beverages. "If an ingredient isn't water-soluble, it will appear cloudy or separate in clear beverages, which forces manufacturers to advise consumers to 'shake well' before drinking," she explained. Above all, a fi nished functional beverage product must carry a "natural" look and feel. Lippert concurred: "When your product has a wellness positioning, it's particularly important that it doesn't look or taste artifi cial." Traditionally, technical issues have been addressed through a mix of solutions such as masking agents, and added fl avors or sugar. But some of those "fi xes" won't fl y with today's demanding consumers. "Such ingredients can compromise the integrity of a product in terms of its clean label status and health profi le," noted Kevin Kilcoyne, vice president and general manager of the Global Ingredients Group at Welch's. According to Alice Hirschel, Ph.D., technical business director at ABITEC, "Finding replacements for functional ingredients that meet the 'natural' and 'clean label' needs continues to be a challenge." She added, "Replacement ingredients for solubilization and emulsifi cation have a number of issues, including increased cost, increased dose and decreased functionality—all contributing to less- attractive product innovation." However, the market will respond. Paul Verderber, vice president of sales at Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients, maintained the consumer shift away from artifi cial and unfamiliar ingredients is here to stay. "This is one of the main drivers of the clean label movement, and part of what is creating a challenge for functional beverage formulators, who might now be pressured to remove ingredients from their products that they have worked with their whole careers—and the ingredients worked well," he added. Anne Louise Friis, business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, shared the sentiment. "What we meant by clean label fi ve years ago is not the same as what it signifi es today," she explained. "Once upon a time, an ingredient was considered clean simply if it was derived from a natural source, but consumers now have more questions about the integrity of that source." Dill suggested the fi rst challenge, then, in creating a successful functional beverage, is establishing parameters. "There is no third-party standard for a clean label product, so it's up to manufacturers to decide what their consumers will and will not accept in a beverage," she said. Despite the challenges, Lippert maintained modern functional beverage formulation doesn't necessarily mean making concessions. "There used to be a perception that [clean label] had to involve some sort of trade-off, but if you work with the right ingredients, you can have a simpler, more natural label on your beverage without compromising on other important factors, such as color stability," she stated. Despite Lippert's optimism, one pivotal component continues to stretch the talents of formulators. According to Kate Sager, Ingredia Inc.'s marketing manager – America, "The natural sweetener movement has been the greatest challenge." She continued, "Consumers do not want artifi cial, high-powered, low-calorie sweeteners, but they also want sugar reduction. At this point, there are a few options in the United States that seem to work well, but they have some undesirable characteristics." Thom King, president and CEO of Icon Foods, agreed sweeteners are an area to watch. "Many functional beverages contain more than 20 g of sugar and the sugar-free versions often contain Ace K [acesulfame potassium], sucralose or aspartame," he said. "Consumers are creating a trend away from chemical-based sweeteners and majorly avoiding added sugars." Hope on the Horizon Despite the intricacies of producing a winning functional beverage, many brands are successfully innovating—and likely not with their fi rst prototype. "The key to overcoming technical challenges is to run trials in pilot plants," Friis advised. "A beverage company may not have these facilities, but many ingredient suppliers do. Trial and error is the solution to creating the perfect end-product. It's important not to be afraid to 'fail' in the early stages. In fact, it's essential to identify any technical problems before a product is launched." A range of functional ingredients has been well-established in beverage formulations, Evans noted. "Probiotic bacteria, associated with gastrointestinal (GI), immunological and infl ammatory Food & Beverage: Functional Beverage Innovation Going for the Gold(en) ICONIC Protein turned heads at this year's Natural Products Expo West, where the company's new Golden Milk was recognized as a 2018 NEXTY Award fi nalist for Best New Beverage. It boasts 20 g of grass-fed protein from New Zealand. The company maintains grass-fed is richer than conventional dairy in omega-3s, vitamin E, beta-carotene and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs). The low-sugar, Ayurveda-inspired drink is also fortifi ed with extra vitamin B-12 and features turmeric root, ginger root, chicory root, magnesium phosphate, black pepper and potassium citrate.

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