Biotechnology firm Natraceutical, which claims to be a leader in the European natural functional ingredient market, said that the patent forms part of a multinational effort that includes the involvement of certified organic raw material producers.
Natraceutical currently produces 1,100 tonnes of pectin, composed of 128 distinct types, which represent 10 per cent of the group's income. But the company believes that development of a burgeoning organic pectin market could prove especially lucrative, estimating growth to be especially high in North America and the European Union.
The group believes it has not only the know-how, but also the infrastructure to make this project successful. The highest consumers of organic pectin within Europe will likely be Switzerland and the UK, and Natraceutical says it has well-established links with both through its principle centres of production, distribution and sales.
Worldwide production of pectin is estimated at 35,000 tonnes a year. The product is typically used as a gelling agent, and is fundamental in the preparation of a large quantity of food products such as drinks, dairy products, desserts, marmalades and jams.
Additionally, as a soluble fibre, pectin can help improve intestinal and bowel functions.
Natraceutical says that it has not been possible to produce pectin with an organic certification until now. But through the integration of its R&D teams, the firm believes it has successfully developed an innovative method for obtaining an ingredient that taps into consumer health trends.
Obipektin was founded in 1936 and is one of the world's leading suppliers of pectins and fruit and vegetable powders. It was acquired by Natraceutical last year from UK private equity firm 3i as part of a deal worth 80 million.