French ingredient firm Naturex has said it is positioning a number of functional ingredients to enter the US food and beverage arena.
The move follows the firm's acquisition earlier this month of the active ingredients division of compatriot Berkem.
Naturex president Jacques Dikansky told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the company will be promoting Berkem's three major ingredients - so far used only in dietary supplements in the US - for use in functional foods and drinks.
These are: Svetol, a weight loss product extracted from green coffee beans; Cyracos, a calming ingredient extracted from lemon balm; and Powergrape, an antioxidant extracted from grapes.
All ingredients are food-grade and self-affirmed GRAS, said Dikansky.
Although Svetol has been used in some beverage and dairy products in Europe, the other two ingredients have still not seen a debut in the functional food arena.
The company is confident, however, that they could appear in foods and drinks in the US at some point during 2008, following on from their previous promotion by Berkem.
"We feel there is very good potential for this type of ingredient in the food industry, especially because the efficiency is scientifically demonstrated, and that is what the industry is looking for," he said.
The botanical extracts in Berkem's portfolio are all backed up by clinical studies, and with scientific data being a major factor in the success of health-oriented ingredients, the division is expected to enhance Naturex's product development and promotion abilities.
While Naturex has a large portfolio of natural ingredients, Berkem's expertise is in a few innovative ingredients. Dikansky said that Actifs Innovants will sit as a separate team within the company specialized on developing science-backed ingredients.
"The idea is to maintain the know-how and keep the Berkem team."
In turn, Naturex's US sales force will provide strong backing to Berkem's ingredients, which were previously promoted by only one person in the US.
The US remains the largest market for Naturex, currenly making up about 60 percent of total company sales. Out of these, 70 percent are for nutraceuticals, and 30 percent for food ingredients and flavors.
The Berkem deal - sitting at €9.5m ($14.1m) - comes hot on the heels Naturex's acquisition of US-based Chart Corporation on December 20, which brought into the fold a range of flavoring plant extracts in solid and fluid forms for the beverage and flavor industries.
Dikansky said that over the last five years half of the company's growth has stemmed from acquisitions, and half from organic growth.
Organic growth for the company stood at 12.1 percent at constant US dollar rate in 2007, and the company aims to maintain this double-digit growth this year.
Revenue for the full year, including the integration of HP Botanicals on April 1 2007, was €79.5m ($118.4m), up 27.4 percent on 2006 at constant USD rates.