ABFI acquisition of Fytexia accelerates expertise in active nutrients: ‘Fortification and functionality are key’

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Polyphenols are found naturally in vegetables / Pic: GettyImages Svetlana Khoroshilova
Polyphenols are found naturally in vegetables / Pic: GettyImages Svetlana Khoroshilova

Related tags Functional foods Polyphenols

ABF Ingredients has acquired life science company Fytexia Group. FoodNavigator hears from ABFI chief executive Fabienne Saadane-Oaks about how the move will accelerate the group’s presence in the active nutrition space.

ABFI announced a strategic acquisition to take control of Fytexia Group earlier this week. The life sciences company focuses on the development of scientifically supported active nutrients and will expand ABFI’s portfolio and capabilities to serve the food and nutritional market.

Fytexia Group focuses on the research and scientific validation of bioactive compounds to deliver functional ingredients for the improvement of human health and wellbeing, targeting non-communicable diseases. Fytexia Group is comprised of two businesses, Fytexia, a global expert in polyphenols, and B Natural, the European leader for the extraction and refinement of brown propolis.

Headquartered in France, Fytexia has a ‘strong’ presence in Europe and its regional offices in the US and Asia leave it ‘ideally positioned’ to serve food and nutrition customers globally.

Innovating in functional foods

The deal strengthens ABFI’s capabilities in science-based ingredients that are linked to positive health outcomes, ABFI’s chief executive told us.

“Through the acquisition of Fytexia Group, ABFI extends its expertise into scientifically supported active nutrients for human health, which is the core focus of the company,”​ Fabienne Saadane-Oaks said.

The company sees particular potential in the development of ingredients that increase polyphenol consumption. Polyphenols are micronutrients that naturally occur in plants and include flavonoids, tannic acid, and ellagitannin. While often included in dietary supplements, Saadane-Oaks explained that the company believes adding polyphenols to everyday food formulations also presents an important opportunity. Combining Fytexia and ABFI’s respective areas of expertise will allow the combined company to drive innovation in this area, he continued.

“Both ABFI and Fytexia are convinced of the importance of polyphenol intake in the prevention of the risk factors for non-communicable diseases and appropriate consumption can be reached through supplements but also the consumption of everyday food products. Fytexia will leverage the technical knowledge of the ABFI and ABF group of companies, to facilitate the formulation of polyphenols for their use into functional foods and beverages, and thus increase consumer access to polyphenols,”​ we were told.

Matthieu Arguillère, CEO of Fytexia Group, agreed that ABFI is the ‘perfect partner’ as Fytexia accelerates its growth trajectory. “We share the same values and are both convinced that natural science based nutritional solutions are the future of the industry. At Fytexia Group, we believe ABFI is the perfect partner to accelerate the development of our activity globally in the best possible conditions, with the support of a larger organisation. Therefore, we will accelerate our clinical research to support our existing product line as well as our future developments,”​ he said.

Building value in consumer brands

Sharing details of ingredients and applications, Saadane-Oaks continued: “Oxxynea, a flagship ingredient of the Fytexia Group, is a whole food concentrate of fruit and vegetable extracts providing polyphenols as provided with daily consumption of five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. This ingredient has been developed to fulfil the role of 'micronutrient booster' and rebalance the consumer intake in polyphenols, as most of the western population does not eat enough servings of fruit and vegetables every day to fulfil its metabolic needs. Using Oxxynea in a functional food formulation provides added value and allow food manufacturer to offer customers a product with more functionality.

DNF-10, another ingredient offered by Fytexia Group, is a hydrolysate from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast already widely used in baking and beer manufacturing. The extract offered by Fytexia is clinically proven to enhance the feeling of satiety and since the ingredient is stable to temperature and variety of pH, it can be easily incorporated into functional food manufacturing, we were told. 

This approach can help food makers meet the evolving needs of their consumers and differentiate their products, the ABFI executive told us. “Consumers are getting more aware and educated on the connection between their daily diet and their health. With the wide offer of food products, consumers are looking for markers of differentiation that can guide their choice.

“Fortification and functionality are key, but other requirements, such as naturality, safety, and sustainability are important criteria a 2022 consumer is expecting when buying a food product. Fuelled by the scientific progress on understanding the key roles and drivers of the microbiome and metabolism, health benefits such as contribution to good digestive health, immunity, or support of energy levels, have already been well accepted by consumers and continue to drive their buying decisions. We also see more and more interest in benefits related to body-mind balance such as cognitive support, stress prevention or mobility as in joint health.”

Innovation leveraging scientifically validated ingredients that deliver health benefits ‘definitely’ allows consumer facing food makers to strengthen their brand propositions ‘as soon as the brands commit to select ingredients of quality, supported by a strong scientific background’, Saadane-Oaks continued.

“This is the belief of ABFI and the motivation behind the acquisition of a company such as the Fytexia Group, which is investing a significant share of its turnover in developing solid evidence for both the safety of its ingredients as well as state of the art clinical studies that demonstrate the efficacy of its polyphenols.”

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