Trending botanicals in food and beverage, from ashwagandha to American ginseng

While some firms are looking to add signature named ingredients such as turmeric or ashwagandha to add flair or exoticism to their products, most are looking to build a formulation around a particular need state or health benefit, with “some of the strongest interest around the topics of immunity and relaxation,” ​said Romain Thevenot, global product manager botanicals for food & beverage at Givaudan, which acquired botanicals supplier Naturex in 2018.

While these themes were trending pre-pandemic, they have since “really become hot topics we expect to continue in the coming years​,” he added, citing increased interest in naturally derived vitamin C from acerola and the company’s koji-derived zinc for immunity; and its ‘Cereboost’ American Ginseng, an adaptogen backed by human clinical data that supports mood and relaxation.

More traditional botanicals such as passionflower, chamomile or lavender flower that are “intuitively associated​” with calming but “don’t support particular health claims” ​are also in demand, ​added Thevenot, who said iced teas, waters and juice drinks are the most popular applications outside of supplements, although “shots are gaining traction, as well as dairy and plant-based dairy alternatives.”

“Botanicals from Ayurveda continue to be popular, with turmeric clearly remaining the superstar. Our Turmipure Gold ingredient has attracted strong interest from food & beverage players ever since securing self-GRAS determination, as players look to differentiate with branded, science-based ingredients, even if they don’t make claims about health benefits.”

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