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.