The food and ingredients giant, Kerry Foods is one of several companies NutraGenesis says it is negotiating alliances with. Another major client is PepsiAmericas, which is marketing a stress relief beverage containing Essentra.
NutraGenesis has taken Essentra from its beginnings as a dietary supplement ingredient into the category of functional foods, with a particular platform of stress relief. In fact, Kerry Foods commissioned an AC Neilsen survey that found stress is a top health concern among Americans.
"Kerry's primary market research has identified stress as the leading health concern among consumers," said Keith Parle, director of functional foods sales and strategic development at Kerry Ingredients.
Essentra is an adaptogen - it is derived from a natural herb that has been shown to boost the body's resistance to anxiety and fatigues, without any stimulant effect. Essentra is extracted through a patented process from the adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
In 2004, NutraGenesis launched the same product, but with the name Sensoril, for use in dietary supplements. Under the rebrand Essentra, the company then brought the product to market for use in functional foods in 2005 following an 18-month process of GRAS self-assessement.
The steroidal lactones, or withanolides, in Essentra are what bring about the ingredient's anti-stress properties according to NutraGenesis.
The ingredient is standardized to contain: glycowithanolides (8 percent); withaferin-A (2 percent); oligosaccharides (32 percent). The oligosaccarides act as a carrier for the glycowithanolides and Withaferin-A helps maintain the targetted ratios between these two ingredients.
Ashwagandha is popular herb in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition of medicine. But with it's branded ingredient, NutraGenesis is distancing itself from herbal connotations.
"While Essentra is derived from an Ayurvedic botanical, we market it as a highly standardized patented nutraceutical ingredient," said NutraGenesis company president Suzanne McNeary.
Essentra can already be found in PepsiAmericas' NutriSoda functional beverages - specifically the "Calm" line.
Kerry Ingredients is a $1.1bn food technology company providing food ingredients, nutritional components and flavors to food and beverage manufacturers.