George Joseph, VP and general manager at Anaheim-based American Ingredients was speaking to NutraIngredients-USA after striking a deal to become the exclusive US distributor for Pomanox, a pomegranate extract developed by Spanish firm Probeltebio.
Pomanox, which is manufactured via a patented water-based extraction process without the use of organic solvents, has been successful in Europe and has strong potential in the US food and supplement market, he predicted.
“Promotion of Pomanox in the EU has been very successful through several distributors in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium, UK and Poland. Sales have increased in 2011/2012 by over 200%.”
Pomanox is standardized for free-radical-busting polyphenols punicalagins, he added: “Punicalagins are the most important polyphenols in the pomegranate fresh fruit, not ellagic acid. Punicalagins are much more bioavailable than ellagic acid.”
The fact Pomanox is water soluble makes it ideal for drink mix applications, while it also has good heat stability characteristics and a neutral taste, he added.
“Although the dietary supplement industry is a very important target, the biggest potential market is definitely food.”
Pomegranate extract market in the USA has become very competitive
As for the competition, he said: “The pomegranate extract market in the USA has become very competitive with manufacturers in the US and from China.
“However, most of the competitive extracts use the dehydrated skin and husk that are by-products from pomegranate juice production.
“[By contrast] Probeltebio uses the fresh pomegranate fruit after squeezing for extraction, preserving the original primary polyphenols.
“We feel that Pomanox offers and advantage over the competition as it is organically certified and produced without the use of any organic solvents using a patented ultrapure water-based extraction process.”
Solvent-free and certified organic
While many fruit extracts are sold on a generic, high-ORAC, antioxidant platform, American Ingredients will “focus on selling Pomanox … based on the natural origin of the pomegranate polyphenols Punicalagins and the fact it is solvent free and certified organic”, he said.
“ORAC value does not give information about bioavailability or beneficial effects in human body.”
However, Pomanox could also be promoted on a gut health platform, an anti-inflammatory platform, a cardiovascular health platform or for performance and recovery after exercise given its properties as a vasodilator and NO (nitric oxide) synthesis enhancer, he said.
According to Probeltebio, Pomanox was developed “with the aim of designing new functional products that may help rebuild healthy gut flora and restore the integrity of the intestinal barrier.”
It added: “Several in-vitro and pre-clinical tests conducted on Pomanox demonstrate the benefits to gut flora and for promoting normal gastrointestinal function.
Probeltebio has also “designed clinical tests in order to further demonstrate the beneficial effects of Pomanox extract in alleviating diseases of the joints”, it said.
There is a growing body of research on the health benefits of pomegranates, much of it conducted on products from POM Wonderful, which has recently branched out into the industrial ingredients market with the launch of a 100% Pomegranate Juice Concentrate and POMx pomegranate polyphenols.
While the FTC has challenged some of POM’s bolder claims, an administrative law judge recently concluded that claims that POM products support prostate and cardiovascular health are backed by scientific evidence.
Research published in 2009 in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry also showed that POMx enhances the growth of ‘good’ bacteria’ in the gut.