The lasting effects of COVID-19 include the rise in demand for multi-functional food and beverage products. According to Global Market Insightsa, the health ingredients market size was valued at around $100.3 billion in 2022, and is estimated to reach $202.9 by 2032. As consumer demand continues to grow for nutritional/functional ingredients in their food, flavor houses are rising to the occasion to diversify their portfolios. Here are a few examples of innovation that debuted last year.
Investments & Portfolio Launches
In October 2023, Indena, a private Italian company that specializes in the identification, development and production of high-quality, innovative and effective active botanical principles for the pharmaceutical and health food industries, and dsm-firmenich have announced a strategic partnership. The collaboration is designed to pioneer the development of novel scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of natural solutions in the human health arena, leveraging both companies' values, visions and knowledge.
The partnership is dedicated to specific health areas and selected ingredients, including those to support immunity, vision, brain health, women's health, healthy aging and gut health. For all business areas, other than the solutions selected for the partnership, the two companies will proceed fully independently.
“This partnership has come about from a vision shared by Indena and dsm-firmenich: to identify and develop innovative solutions for human health, combining a deeply-rooted scientific background with the visionary capacity to imagine the future challenges of nutraceuticals,” states Daniele Giavini, managing director at Indena. “Today’s savvy consumer requires increasingly smarter products in terms of ingredients as well as formulation. Already in the next few months, our collaboration will bring products onto the market that combine and enhance the effectiveness of technologically advanced botanical extracts and ingredients from both companies. But above all, we want to launch a medium- and long-term planning process to build solutions that are not yet existing: solutions devised to respond to the increasingly sophisticated demands of a public wishing to take care of their own well-being with products that are scientifically studied, clinically tested and technologically ground-breaking, for proven effectiveness.”
Just a month before, Symrise Asia Pacific debuted the Enhanced Naturals @SPark facility in Singapore said to be dedicated to naturalness innovation. Housed within SPark, the multi-functional innovation and technology center is designed to address the move of the food and beverage industry towards sustainably sourced, natural and plant-based alternatives.
The purpose-built labs in the Enhanced Naturals @SPark focus on thermal treatments, extraction and biotransformation. The facility is said to enable sustainable, natural, and plant-based innovation across categories such as culinary, dairy and beverages. The facility also offers a co-development area to allow co-creation with customers.
“With the investment in our Enhanced Naturals @SPark, we are future-proofing our business. Also, we are well-positioning our offer of various specific natural solutions across all categories to our customers,” said Medardo Villafana, technical director, Savory, Research & Technology, Asia Pacific.
Kapil Sethia, president, Food & Beverage, Asia Pacific said, “With the addition of the Enhanced Naturals @SPark, we reiterate our focus on Innovation in the context of changing market and consumer dynamics. Enhanced Naturals gives us the technology & capability to collaborate with our customers on clean-label solutions, authenticity and elevate the use of natural ingredients. Consumers in Asia will progressively demand the use of natural ingredients in food & beverage products. With sustainable practices, we continue to strengthen our Taste, Nutrition & Health presence in the space of naturals that directly ties to the strategic objectives of Symrise as an Augmented Flavor House."
Earlier in the year, Kalsec partnered with Willow Biosciences Inc. (Willow), a biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent and sustainable functional ingredients, to enter into a follow-on Master Services Agreement (MSA) to develop an enzyme used in biocatalytic production of a new, advanced ingredient used in natural beverage applications. This marks the second collaborative development program the two parties have engaged on following the announcement of an MSA on November 8, 2022.
Willow's FutureGrownb technology platform is a fully integrated, proven solution for rapid enzyme and strain engineering, process development and scaled-up manufacturing that incorporates the latest technologies available for precision fermentation. Kalsec's projects focus on yeast, which, among other applications, is an ideal host for production of numerous ingredients for the food and beverage sector. By working closely with their customers, the development team at Kalsec has identified multiple potential opportunities for collaboration and innovation in this space.
Willow president and CEO Chris Savile, Ph.D. shared, "We are pleased to have executed this follow-on engagement with Kalsec and I’m proud of our R&D team’s success in collaborating with Kalsec to rapidly attain our joint development goals. We look forward to further evidencing our technological capabilities through what we believe will be a similarly successful outcome for this next program."
Executive vice president, Global R&D, and chief innovation officer Roger Nahas, Ph.D., added, "We are excited to expand our partnership with Willow and leverage each party’s significant domain expertise toward what we believe will be successful commercial-scale production in 2024. This work also supports Kalsec’s purpose of unlocking the potential of people, nature and science to nurture the world.”
In the plant-based space, innovation regarding nutritional ingredients was explored by Symrise, which launched a range of diana food chickpea and aquafaba ingredients for plant-based applications to address the rising increase in vegan protein options in September 2023.
The company has created chickpea and aquafaba flakes designed to allow clear and understandable labeling, as “Aquafaba (chickpea water)” or “Chickpea.” According to Symrise, both ingredients contain no EU allergen, while being gluten-free and non-GMO, and come with a long shelf-life up to eighteen months.
Sophie Helleux, product manager in the Naturals Business Unit of Symrise Food & Beverage said, “According to a recent Euromonitor studyc, forty-two percent of the population is restricting its consumption of animal-based products. These chickpea ingredients constitute another way in which Symrise is addressing the growing, trendy plant-based market. Aquafaba offers the perfect vegan alternative to egg yolk, while chickpea flakes improve the nutritional value.”
bFutureGrown is a trademark of Willow