Japanese food manufacturer Kikkoman made further moves into the functional food market with the news this week that it has selected sensory science company TIAX to create a new line of beverages, nutrition bars and breakfast cereals containing Kikkoman's branded grape seed extract, Gravinol.
According to Kikkoman the products will be used as 'proof of concept' that grape seed extract can be incorporated successfully into consumer foods and beverages.
"We are delighted to be working with the experts at TIAXwho are known throughout the food industry for developing creative solutions for those seeking to integrate functional and healthy ingredients into products," said Katsumi Ishizuka, general manager of the Biochemicals division at Kikkoman. "Grape seed extract has long been identified as a powerful antioxidant that can aid in the prevention of diseases," he added.
As one of the largest producers of wine in Japan, Kikkoman began producing Gravinol to make use of the grape byproduct which accumulates at its vineyards in Argentina.
Grapes have long been valued for the high concentration of antioxidants found in their skin and seeds, which is believed to play a role in helping prevent cancer, heart disease, and stroke. However, one of the major challenges the food and dietary supplement industries have faced in adding grape seed extract to products is masking its bitterness and rough mouthfeel.
TIAX has been charged with masking the bitter flavour and grape aroma associated with the grape seed extract to incorporate it into several different food products that contain an adequate daily intake of Gravinol (50 milligrams per serving of the active material proanthocyanidins) that would appeal to food manufacturers and consumers.
During the development process TIAX's panel will assess sensory attributes such as basic tastes, aroma, texture, mouthfeel and aftertaste of each product in order to identify prototypes with the most potential for consumer acceptance. In addition, the sensory panel will evaluate and compare the Gravinol prototypes to control products to ensure there are no significant differences in sensory attributes such as flavour quality and texture.
TIAX is currently executing the first phase of the project -to create two dry mix chocolate flavoured meal replacements and two ready-to-drink berry juice beverages. The company is also launching phase two and three of the project which involves the creation of a nutrition bar and a breakfast cereal each containing 50mg of Gravinol per serving.
"The product development team at TIAX has a rich history of helping to bring new and improved products to fruition and we anticipate this project will be a great success for both Kikkoman and TIAX," said Colleen Zammer, senior manager and manager of TIAX's product development unit.
Kikkoman's Gravinol has been sold as a dietary supplement for years. The Japanese company announced self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA) for Gravinol in several food categories, the first step in initiating a food-product development process.