26 Jun 2017 --- Native to Southern-Asia, turmeric, the main spice in curry, has been trending for some time. Arguably one of the most powerful herbs on the planet it has many healing properties that include fighting and reversing disease.
Turmeric is cultivated in the tropics and the root is used in cooking. It is boiled, sun-dried and then ground into a powder. It an important ingredient in curry powder and is frequently used to add both flavor and color to many meat and vegetarian dishes.
Numerous studies have proven the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs. This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in science.
One of the standout trends at Vitafoods 2017 was the rise of products featuring turmeric and its derivative, curcumin. “The Click to Enlargemarket for turmeric is blooming,” Alexis Manfre, Nutrition and Health Category Manager at Naturex, told FoodIngredientsFirst. “Turmeric has become the botanical superstar globally. If you look at the European market, the recent growth in the last year is 30 to 40%.”
“Turmeric is already a well-known ingredient because of its traditional use in Indian cuisine and its characteristic natural yellow color,” Naturex spokesperson Eve Landen says. “Its success is largely due to 3 major points: growing science (there were 20 published studies in 1995, and more than 1000 in 2016), a growing list of associated health benefits (anti-inflammatory, digestive, cognitive, immunity), and an extended use in a wide variety of applications.”
Although curcumin has been linked to joint health, it is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and is efficient as a digestive solution, as well as a solution for immunity and anti-aging. Curcumin is thought to alleviate more than ten health conditions.
More recently turmeric has been widely recognized as being beneficial to health in more ways than one, hence its newfound popularity and increase in sales, according to experts at EHL.
Managing Director of EHL, Tasneem Backhouse, explains: “People’s growing desire to live healthier, holistic lifestyles has caused sales of turmeric to soar. The spice is absolutely bursting with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties and is very low in sodium and cholesterol. Its therapeutic properties have lead to it becoming our bestselling spice.”
“Turmeric is also used within the cosmetics industry to produce herbal hair and beauty products as it possesses benefits for the skin and hair,” she adds.
“A lot of interest and sales is also coming from independent cafes and bistros because the trend for its use in lattes has grown dramatically over recent months.”
Now seen as a trendy ingredient, there has been increased interest in turmeric recipes, including bold beverages like turmeric tea and turmeric lattes, even turmeric gummies and supplements.
Back in February, Anlit Ltd, launched vegetarian curcumin gummies for consumers seeking curcumin supplements. Anlit’s gummy technology is said to overcome the unpleasant flavor associated with many curcumin supplements. Anlit uses a unique technology to produce the pectin-based turmeric gummy by using a clean, starch-free, molding system forming a tender, textured gum.
Shai Karlinski, VP of sales and marketing for Anlit said: “There are only a few turmeric gummies in the marketplace, but Anlit’s unique technology allows for the incorporation of a substantial dose of curcumin—30 mg—in synergy with 150 mcg of piperine per gummy, without affecting taste or texture.”
The turmeric gummy is an easy and fun way to consume a beneficial curcumin dosage, without the need to swallow tablets or capsules. “Consumers are concerned about additives such as synthetic colourants or preservatives and so are more likely to buy our gummies,” adds Karlinski. You can read more on gummies in the supplement category here.
Its culinary popularity has more to do with turmeric’s bright color, which foodies have been known to use in tonics, vegetable yoghurts and beverages such as the turmeric latte. Otherwise known as haldi doodh “Golden Milk” is a traditional pick-me-up from the Indian subcontinent prescribed for everything from weight loss to flus.
Benny Antony, PhD, Joint Managing Director for Arjuna recently spoke with FoodIngredientsFirst about the health claims surrounding curcumin. “Arjuna has 33 published articles on various health benefits of bio-available Curcumin, BCM-95. The main health benefits associated with curcumin are that is can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-depression, anti-arthritic and anti-cancerous.”
“Our turmeric extracts are also available in powder form and in water dispersible format,” he says. “They can be used in topical as well as health drink mixes.”
What is Arjuna doing in terms of innovation? “At Arjuna we have brought innovations in technology to improve the productivity of our Turmeric manufacturing facility recently,” notes Antony. “We are trying to set higher levels of quality standards in our operations. We will soon be introducing our range of products that will be equally beneficial to food and beverage segment.”
Consumers are very much tuned into health benefits of herbs and spices, and Antony believes that brands who can offer natural ingredients with scientific backing for the claims and efficacy will certainly be a favorite for consumers.
“According to Google food report and other market research the turmeric extract is booming. We decided to triple our production capacity of BCM-95 in order to be able to meet the growing demand in the international market,” he explains. “We expect to see more new formulations targets specific health conditions, food and beverage and of course, more clinical research ongoing.”
However, the positive trend on demand for turmeric extracts worldwide has resulted more farming areas being dedicated to the cultivation of Turmeric in India, according to Antony. He says: “Farmers are more confident in finding market for their produce. We work in collaboration with Agricultural University, Trichur, Kerala in India to identify the best sustainable farming Click to Enlargeprocedures and the right turmeric variety. BCM-95 traceability is from farm-to-shelf,” he continues. “We work with skilled farmers who can harvest the turmeric extract efficiently. The production process ensures the product is completely clean and safe for use, with zero contamination.”
Increased demand may well affect the price of turmeric and curcumin products in the future, but for now, it is safe to say that the turmeric trend won’t be slowing down. Not only does this botanical superstar boast plenty of health benefits but its colour has excited confectionery industry in recent months. Just this week, Roha annouced the launch of their breakthrough yellow ingredient called Natracol Bright Yellow. Turmeric and its derivative curcumin has always tantalized the coloring industry and is known to be the best source of natural yellow pigment. You can read the full story here.
The innovation and NPD space for turmeric food products is still only at the beginning – watch this space!
by Elizabeth Green
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