The Avignon-based company is looking for potential partners as part of its Ingenium Programme, which aims to accelerate new product development through external collaborations.
It focuses on three general areas of research: original raw materials, such as botanicals or ingredients obtained through innovative farming processes; earth-friendly technologies, such as green extraction; and plant-based ingredients with clinically proven health benefits.
But yesterday the firm said it was specifically looking for expertise in the fields of natural colours, preservatives, phytoactive ingredients for human health and beauty and naturally fortified ingredients.
Green, blue and red
Head of the Ingenium programme Doug Klaiber told FoodNavigator the firm had already identified “a few natural sources for colours and preservatives” but said they had some limitations, hence the desire to collaborate with external partners.
Clean label algae spirulina generated a buzz when it came on the market as both a natural colour and colouring, for instance, but it has some drawbacks.
“Spirulina provides an attractive blue colour that has seen a lot of success in confectionery, bakery decoration, ice cream & frozen desserts," Klaiber said. “However, it still has some pH-related application issues and is heat sensitive. We are interested in exploring further options to extend the possibilities for natural blue in a wider variety of applications.”
“Copper chlorophyllin is not considered fully natural, so the demand for natural stable green is high,” he added. “Today, we offer chlorophyll derived from spinach or green blends that combine yellow pigments from safflower or curcumin with blue spirulina.”
Meanwhile, the natural food preservatives would be primarily for meat and bakery applications but interest was not limited to these applications.
“We are seeking both technical and commercial partnerships. This may take the form of a new start-up that we help to develop and assist with the regulatory acceptance process, but we also consider ready-to-market products,” Klaiber said.
Naturex said this was an ongoing call for interested applicants and there was no limited timeframe.
Launched in March last year, Ingenium so far counts eight significant collaborations under its belt, including licensing agreements with the Barry Callebaut group for the launch of Cocoactiv’, a high-flavanol cocoa extract and with Poland-based Adamed, which resulted in the market introduction of Aronox, an aronia extract targeting cardiovascular health.
As increasing numbers of innovative food tech solutions come from small start-ups, rather than the R&D labs of multinational companies, incubator and accelerator schemes are growing in popularity.
Click here to see our gallery on some of the biggest, from Unilever’s Foundry to Nestlé’s recently launched Henri programme.