Cognis offers rooibos tea extract, expands plant line

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coffee Cognis

Health ingredients firm Cognis has introduced two African plant
extracts that it claims can offer real antioxidant benefits to iced
tea and other drinks looking for a healthy positioning.

The richly red-coloured rooibos tea extract and honeybush, traditionally used as a relaxant and digestive aid, were on display at Food Ingredients Europe this week.

Cognis is best known for a range of healthy fats but it has begun exploiting an earlier acquisition of a Spanish botanicals firm to develop a new range of plant extracts for food and supplements.

Laboratoires Dr Vinyals, bought in 2001, had previously been involved mainly with pharmaceutical products but Cognis is using its food formulation expertise to build a range of water-soluble extracts suitable for food.

The first plant extracts launched in May added little in the way of novelty but the African plants introduced this week may prove more enticing, combining novelty with high antioxidant levels.

Juergen Gierke, marketing manager, said the firm is targeting the beverage industry, as rooibos extracts will be ideally suited to iced tea products.

"Iced tea and 'new age' beverages are popular in the ready-to-drink market, with many of them positioned as health drinks,"​ he said.

"However they often contain only negligible amounts of active antioxidants and at the same time significant levels of caffeine. Rooibos and honeybush contain high levels of antioxidants but very little tannin and no caffeine at all."

He told that the firm may consider doing further research on the health benefits of the extracts if there is demand from customers that could result in a usable health claim.

Cognis is also considering developing a range of extracts for use in supplements.

"We are still in the starting phase and have to make a name in this area. We are normally know as the fat-based company so when we approach beverage makers they wonder how the two will go together,"​ said Gierke.

"But we are aiming at companies looking for scientific backing,"​ he added.

More extracts are likely to be added to the range in the future.

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