Tate & Lyle has continued its push into the health and wellness area by linking with a Canadian coffee and tea specialist to distribute a green tea extract in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The UK-based ingredients giant has built its business in carbohydrate forms such as sugars and starches but has for two years been expanding its portfolio to include healthier offerings and has partnered with specialty players like Lipid Nutrition to work on offerings with weight management, heart health and other benefits.
Its new deal with A. Holliday gives Tate & Lyle exclusive distribution rights outside of North America for the ingredient, called Teawell 95, that has a 95 per cent concentration of the most bioactive green tea component, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Tate & Lyle director of health and nutritional sciences, Sandra Einerhand, said consumer interest in healthy offerings and interest in the healthy properties of green tea is rising in western markets, which bolstered its appeal.
“Teawell 95 fits nicely into our growing healthy portfolio,” she told NutraIngredients.com. “We want to be able to offer a broad range of ingredients to customers for different solutions and this is a move in that direction.”
EGCG is a green tea antioxidant that has been shown to increase metabolism as well as maintaining blood glucose levels and benefiting the heart.
Tate & Lyle said the A. Holliday version is among the most potent on the market for EGCG content. DSM’s Teavigo and Taiyo's Sunphenon are other ingredients claiming similar potencies.
The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tealeaves are EGCG, epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC).
Tate & Lyle has prepared several Teawell 95-containing prototypes that will be on show in Geneva including a juice drink, an iced tea, an isotonic drink, a white yoghurt and a fruit yogurt. These prototypes incorporate various Tate & Lyle sweeteners.
Einerhand said Tate & Lyle had “begun discussions” with European food and beverage players and expected to have a product on-market by next year.
The company did not attempt to develop the ingredient itself because it “knew its core competencies” and the development process would have been elongated.
“That’s not to say we won’t develop our own ingredients but we have an open innovation panel and are actively seeking partners that can help us develop the best ingredients,” she said. “We believe it is a win-win situation.”
She said four green tea-based health claims had been submitted to the European Union claims process due for resolution in January, 2010.
These generic article 13.1 claims were in the areas of weight management, glucose control, cardiovascular health and antioxidants.
Coca-Cola and Nestle launched a high-profile EGCG-based carbonated beverage called Enviga in the US in 2006, accompanied by a claim that it could burn calories.
But the companies recently had to alter their marketing after 26 US states took issue with the product’s provocative marketing.
The main issue was the use of phrases such as "the calorie burner" or "negative calories" or "drink negative" which will now have to be accompanied by statements that clearly and conspicuously state Enviga does not produce weight loss without exercise.
"These were misrepresentations based on insufficient scientific evidence that doesn't support the weight-loss claims," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “This agreement will require full disclosure and, ultimately, help to raise consumer awareness of this product’s health effects.”
In response, Coke spokesperson, Ray Crockett said: “We maintain, as we always have, that Enviga burns calories, but by itself is not a guarantee of weight loss.”