27 January 2014
Botanical extracts for food & beverages
EPO’s wide range of botanical extracts offers a great opportunity to boost your products with active ingredients or add more naturalness to the recipe
By Annette Strarup, Area Sales Manager, Alsiano
More than ever consumers are seeking products with natural ingredients and products with added functional properties that support a healthy lifestyle. Here plant extracts are playing an important role exerting various functional benefits plus they are natural. Plant extracts are thus no longer exclusively for the more specialised nutraceutical market but has moved into the more broad food segment. In food products, plant extracts are used in beverages, dairy products, meat products, bakery and confectionery, not just for marketing and naturalness but also to provide health effects.
The application of plant extracts in beverages is often related to their specific health properties such as to energize, boost the immune system, improve skin health, increase focus, provide relaxation, etc. Often the effect of the extracts is supported by clinical trials.
In addition to extracts offering specific health benefits, healthy image plant extracts are used in beverages to provide general health and wellness such as the well-known gingko biloba, bilberry, ginseng and green tea.
Trendy extracts are used more and more in yoghurt drinks especially tea extracts such as green tea, rooibos, honeybush, buchu, maté, damiana and berry extracts. Also herbs are used with inspiration from gastronomy where the use of Nordic berries, herbs and seaweed are in focus – e.g. rosehip extract, sea buckthorn, bilberry, black currant, lemon balm, nettle, dandelion, burdock, hedge mustard and bladderwrack.
Other current extracts in dairy applications include exotic varieties such as ginger, coriander, papaya and lemon grass.
The high interest in all natural food products has made rosemary extract with high content of rosmarinic acid a popular extract for meat to replace chemical antioxidants and thus allow for clean labelling. Also berry extracts with high antioxidant power and curcumin extract and garlic extract are in focus. Many extracts high in natural antioxidants are well suited in marinades where they, in addition to their antioxidant effect, can add some flavour to the meat too.
For herbal sweets EPO offers extracts of sage, elderflower, peppermint, thyme, linden flower, mallow, peppermint, chamomile, etc. Also in chocolate the use of plant extracts has become more widespread. Examples include spicy extracts such as chili, ginger, saffron and anis.
Plant extracts are gaining ground in bakery applications in for instance gourmet bread and crisp bread. Trendy products such as seaweed are emerging in bread products and chamomile, honey, baobab and berries are among the interesting extracts in cookies. However, also more common extracts that has an emotional fit with bakery products – e.g. caraway, cinnamon – are popular.
European produced extracts
EPO Srl. (Estratti Pianti Officinale), established in 1933, is an Italian manufacturer of a wide range of plant extracts.
EPO deal with about 200 plants coming from five continents and produce 175 powdered extracts and 230 liquid extracts at their plant outside Milan. The raw materials selected by EPO come from cultivations in complete harmony with nature and must pass an accurate examination in their quality control laboratory to check their botanical identification, their quali-quantitative composition and the absence of contaminants.
Apart from their vast range of extracts, EPO offers tailor-made extracts according to the customer’s requirements and they also offer customised extract blends.