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Antioxidants: Super Ingredient?

24 Feb bai

Whether we realize it or not, everyone is exposed to oxidation. Oxidation is a natural process, which can cause free radicals to form in the body and do damage on body’s cells. Antioxidants have been proven to reverse the process by ridding the body of free radicals. For the average consumer, receiving an adequate amount of antioxidants per day is increasingly difficult. Recently, consumers have become increasingly interested in antioxidants as a functional ingredient. With so many consumers looking to reverse the aging process and retain their youth, antioxidants have proven to be a powerful marketing tool for many beverage companies. Last year alone, over 250 antioxidant beverages were launched. While the most common antioxidants are Vitamin C and Vitamin E, there are over 30 antioxidants which could be used as a beverage additive. According to Wild Flavors Inc., the most requested antioxidant ingredients are apple, tea and yerba mate. Among consumers, the most popular antioxidants are green tea and black tea. Green tea extract and flavanoids are more potent than traditional antioxidants like Vitamin C and they have a lot of potential as a functional ingredient. Consumers who are looking for more natural ingredients tend to prefer herbal antioxidant ingredients, such as grape seed, hibiscus, elderberry, and pomegranate.

 

As consumer awareness has grown about the power of antioxidants, companies such as POM wonderful have experienced tremendous growth. Aside from pomegranate, blueberry is another promising ingredient for beverage companies looking to expand into the antioxidant market. With so many consumers looking for healthy, natural products, antioxidant products seem to be the way to go. Beverage companies can formulate antioxidants from a variety of ingredients, making for a very versatile application of this trend. To learn more about the growing popularity of antioxidants, read this article from BevIndustry.

Flexitarianism is the next big trend

27 Jan flex

While not a strict vegetarian diet, a flexitarian diet is one which is plant-based, but which allows for meat consumption on occassion. According to an article in BeverageDaily.com, the Office of National Statistics in the UK revealed that over 1.2 million people in the UK consider themselves vegetarian and these numbers are expected to grow by 50% in the next two years. Currently, vegetarians and ‘meatless-Mondays’ are combining to make the average consumer more aware of their dietary consumption of meat and other animal products. Companies are already catching onto the trend: Classic Cuisine plans to unveil a line of vegetarian products to meet the growing demand from these consumers.

Flexitarianism will have a huge impact on food & beverage companies if it catches on. Food & beverage companies will need to come up with new ways to provide alternatives to meat and dairy products, while also providing a great tasting product. This may be no easy feat, but if food & beverage companies begin developing flexitarian products now, they will be more likely to thrive once this trend is actualized.

To learn more about this trend, read the article from Beverage Daily.

Alternative Beverage Sector Grows

20 Jan Roots

Over the last twenty years, consumer tastes and preferences has shifted considerably. Consumers today are looking for more from their beverages than a sugary pick-me-up. The modern consumer is looking for a functional beverage, which is healthy yet exotic. Past studies, however, could have all but predicted the way that this trend would play out in the marketplace.

 

In an article by BevNet, which discusses the popularity of alternative beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and juice are listed as popular alternative beverages.

Athletic performance and sports nutrition have been studied more thoroughly since Gatorade was first developed. Today’s sports minded consumers are looking for hydration, nutrition and fuel. Now there are more supplements than ever to help enhance sports performance, but not all of these have been incorporated into a popular wellness drink.

 

One of the most well-known alternative beverages is the energy drink. Over the last decade, energy drinks have grown 32% annually. Currently, the energy drink market is expected to grow 6%, energy drinks are expected to remain relevant in our evermore fast-paced world. Natural energy may be the next biggest sector for growth in this market, as many consumers outside of the traditional energy drink target market (dads and baby boomers) are looking for a less harmful product to enhance their natural energy.

 

Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and coffee are another emerging segment of the alternative beverage market. The RTD tea and coffee industry is expected to grow around 4% this year to around $8.1B. Although Snapple was the first popular RTD, Arizona is responsible for opening the market for a wider variety of products. As consumer awareness of tea’s health benefits has increased, so too have the number of competitors in the industry.

 

Since the New Age beverage movement, many of the largest juice companies have been acquired by larger beverage firms (Coca-Cola and Pepsi). Today, traditional juices may be losing marketshare to new, premium juices. With the rise of juiceries in major cities across the US, juice manufacturing companies are struggling to keep up by utilizing new manufacturing processes, such as HPP and aseptic filling.

The rise of alternative beverages was not unexpected. However, the products which have arisen as a result of this trend were anything but. As beverage companies look ahead, the future of alternative beverages is bright. Consumers are more open to new tastes now than ever before.

 

To learn more about alternative beverages, read the BevNet article.

Nutrition Spotlight: Caffeine and L-theanine in Tea

2 Jan

According to a Unilever study recently reported in a Food Navigator-USA article, there is evidence to support the notion that compounds in tea, primarily caffeine and L-theanine, can be beneficial for one’s mood and mental focus.

Despite the European Food Safety Authority’s recent rejections of two Unilever health claims petitions (13.1 and 13.5) which linked black tea consumption to improved mental focus, the company is continuing its extensive research on the many benefits of tea consumption. Suzanne Einother and Vanessa Martens, employed at Unilever Research and Development, Vlaardingen (the Netherlands), are responsible for a recent review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which, concerning a number of studies of tea consumption, notes “particularly consistent evidence for improved attention” throughout. They added that tea “consistently improved self-reported alertness and arousal” among subjects.

“These studies,” they said, “showed the validity of laboratory findings by supporting the idea that tea consumption has acute benefits on both mood and performance in real-life situations.”

The review was first formally presented on September 19th, 2012, at the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington, D.C.

Scientific research of tea has long focused on green tea, the benefits of which are well-documented and include improving oral and cardiovascular health, aiding in weight-management and reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer.

Black tea is simply green tea which is oxidized by fermentation, and contains between 3% and 10% of water-extractable polyphenols; original green tea, by comparison, contains between 30% and 40%. Fresh tea leaves contain four primary extractable polyphenols: epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and epigallocatechin gallate.

Unilever’s research, however, has focused more on L-theanine, an amino acid extracted from tea leaves, and caffeine. L-theanine is believed to help reduce stress while improving one’s quality of sleep. Since it is found in very low concentrations (less than 2%) in tea leaves, drinking tea cannot deliver effective dosage levels of 100 to 200 milligrams per day.

In the past, L-theanine has been linked to other various health effects, including improved attention, relaxation and certain “neuro-protective” effects. For example, it has been suggested that the amino acid is responsible for increased alpha activity during rest (as shown in EEG models), which can improve relaxation.

In the new review, Einother and Martens used data from randomized control trials focusing on tea’s effects on attention and mood.

“From the totality of research on tea summarized,” they wrote, “[…] it can be concluded that consumption of black tea may improve attention and self-reported alertness. These conclusions are further supported by studies on caffeine and on theanine and caffeine in combination.”

They are quite clear, however, about the pockets of uncertainty which remain for the time being: “Research on the benefits of tea is promising for attention and alertness, although questions remain regarding the scope and magnitude of impact as well as the sensitivity of different individuals. Whereas the bioavailability of both caffeine and theanine has been established, as well as the [suggested] mechanisms of action in the brain, they extent to which they actually cross the blood-brain barrier in humans and how much this is associated with [individual] changes in subsequent performance and mood measures are as yet unknown.”

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Trends/Health-Wellness/Unilever-on-tea-Available-evidence-supports-tea-and-tea-ingredients-for-mood-and-performance-benefits

Ingredient Spotlight: Benefits of Beetroot Juice

27 Dec

A Nutra-Ingredients article has recently reported the findings of a study of nitrate-rich beetroot juice; in a study using trained female runners, it was determined that drinking the juice for four days leading up to a running time-trial could greatly improve the runner’s performance.

As little as 140 milliliters per day of beetroot juice proved beneficial for systolic blood pressure and, in turn, a runner’s 5-kilometer performance, as determined by scientists at Sheffield Hallam University.

“Although not statistically significant,” they wrote, “these results suggest beetroot juice supplementation improved 5-km time trial performance over PLA by 31 s (2.4%). Athletes should consider ingesting beetroot juice to improve 5-km running performance.”

The study of beetroot juice and its potential nutritional and cardiovascular benefits has gained momentum in recent years, especially in the United Kingdom. In past studies, scientists from the University of Exeter (U.K.) found that beetroot juice could help individuals increase stamina and exercise for as much as 16% longer; scientists at the University of Maastricht have noted similar improvements in performance among cyclists. Publications in the Journal of Applied Psychology have suggested that the juice’s nitrate content, which helps reduce oxygen uptake, may be responsible for easing [quite effectively] the “tiring effect” of exercising.

That particular study was led by Professor Andy Jones, who offered a brief summary: “Our study is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance. We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training.”

In the new study, led by Robyn Lancely and her co-workers, a double-blind “crossover design” with repeated measures a two-week washout period was used to determine whether supplementation of beetroot juice would affect 5-km running time-trial performance.

Eleven trained female runners with an average age of 20 were assigned to receive 140 mL of the juice per day, as compared to no supplementation and a placebo. While there were no major differences in systolic blood pressure among the groups, the researchers identified a trend toward reductions following consumption of the juice; those who consumed it had an average value of 114 mmHg, compared to 122 mmHg for the control intervention and 120 mmHg for the placebo intervention.

“One km split times were similar between conditions except for the 2nd km where beetroot juice was faster than control by 16 seconds and placebo by 12 seconds.”

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Beetroot-juice-supplementation-may-boost-time-trial-performance

Power Brands Reviews: Dairy May Help Protect Muscle Mass

16 Sep

A recent article on the daily Rx reports that dairy products may play a role in preserving muscle mass says Power Brands, a leading beverage industry expert. The article ‘Got Dairy?’ reports that eating and drinking more dairy products may help protect the elderly from losing muscle mass. When you lose muscle mass, adds Power Brands, you are more prone to fractures and other similar injuries.

In actual fact, a current study found that older women who ate more dairy had greater physical performance and more muscle mass compared to woman who ate less dairy. The research was directed by Kun Zhu, PhD, in the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes in Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia. There were 1,456 women between the ages of 70 and 85 that were tested. The researchers study involved examining the results of dairy intake and any association with physical performance and body composition.

The study involved measuring daily consumption using a food frequency survey. According to the daily Rx article, participants reported how much dairy they consumed in the last 12 months plus portion sizes. Dairy includes milk, cheese and yogurt, adds Power Brands.

The participants were then placed in one of three categories: more than 2.2 servings per day, 1.5 to 2.2 servings per day and less than 1.5 servings per day. In addition; height, body weight, BMI (body mass index) and body composition (lean and fat mass) measurements were taken. Rendering the daily Rx article, lean mass was categorized as the weight of everything in the body except for the weight of the head, bones and fat.

The researchers determined physical performance by measuring mobility (movement) and hand grip strength. Participants also reported the number of falls they had within the past three months. A participants smoking status and physical activity were also analyzed in the research.

Overall Findings

The researchers found that women who had 1.5 or more servings of dairy per day had considerably greater skeletal muscle mass  and whole body lean mass than women who had less than 1.5 servings per day. The researchers also found that hand grip strength was greater in women who had 2.2 servings of dairy a day compared to women who had less than 2.2 servings of dairy per day.

The study also concluded that there was no association between dairy intake and the amount of time it took to complete a mobility test. As well, there was no significant association found between dairy intake and number of falls.

Other Professional Input

 

Deborah Gordon, MD, a preventive medicine and nutrition expert not associated with the research told dailyRX, “There are a number of fascinating connections that appear in the details of this study”. Her conclusions are as follows:

  • Women who consumed more dairy (712 grams or around 25 ounces) were quite different than the group of women who consumed the lowest amount of dairy (210 grams or about 7.4 ounces)
  • Dairy lovers as a group ate more calories, fat and protein – the protein difference being primarily in dairy protein.
  • Dairy lovers were less likely to drink regularly and engaged in significantly more physical activity than the dairy minimizers

Dr. Gordon explained that some degree of sarcopenia (muscle loss) is unavoidable with aging. However, Dr. Gordon added that the extent to which muscle loss can be minimized and possibly reversed is in correlation to how vigorous and energetic she is as she ages. Dr. Gordon concludes that the study suggests woman who have a healthy appetite and partake in regular physical activity are investing in their sturdiness as they aging.

Overall Conclusion on Study

Based on their findings, dairy may be connected to better physical performance and more lean mass in older women. For further reading you can find full details of the study online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For further reading of the daily Rx article, go to Got Dairy?, adds Power Brands.