One food trend that is undeniably shaping 2017 is botanicals – how substances obtained from plants are giving a major boost to new products across multiple platforms.
Eagle-eyed consumers are scanning labels more than ever, scrutinizing the small print for signs of sugar or a host of other ingredients with negative connotations.
The clean label trend is driving so many food and drink segments and it’s the natural and healthy credentials of botanicals that are increasingly making them popular and a go-to choice for innovators, who are looking to make bold health and well-being claims.
As a matter of fact, there was a 41 percent increase in global soft drinks category launches with “botanical” claims in 2016, compared with the same period the previous year.
It is clear that botanicals are receiving their fair share of attention from supplement producers and food and drink manufacturers, as well as from the scientific community. However, it’s the consumer who is becoming much more aware of the role that botanicals can play in health and well-being and so they want to see that message on the label.
Spices, flowers, plants, seeds, herbs or some other plant-based ingredients are being used on so many new product developments to add flavor, color, texture, taste – alongside the all-important botanical claim.
And as consumers around the world make healthier choices, more regulation is geared towards industry getting rid of synthetic substances or flavorings whose presence may be technically useful, but no longer looks good on the label.
Botanical flavorings can offer effective solutions capable of satisfying both consumers’ safety concerns and the industry’s technical requests – and they are particularly good in terms of flavoring.
In specific sub-categories like adult premium soft drinks, smoothies and low alcohol beverages, innovating with botanicals is very strong.
At the GNT Group, innovators are turning to the functional food ingredient and so-called “super spice” turmeric to develop a water processed turmeric concentrate that is suitable for certain types of beverages.
The GNT Group is making waves with another botanical ingredient, spirulina – with its vibrant hue, the blue-green algae is very high in protein, while containing a large variety of vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is quite unique as a plant-based protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. It was only last year that spirulina was approved as a food color in the US.
Demand is expected to continue to grow and GNT is extending its production capabilities for the future. GNT has developed spirulina as a food coloring and it is produced by itself. There are no added chemicals and it’s completely natural, so you can label it as a food instead of as an additive.
Nevertheless, there are still some challenges, especially in blue beverages, but the company is working on a solution for that, which will finally be met with in the near future.
(By our own staff)