The offering is Blue California’s first with EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) which is thought to be the most bioactive compound in green tea. Aside from its role as a free radical-battling, heart health and skin enhancing antioxidant, it is commonly employed in weight management products for its ability to raise metabolism and as a Chinese Traditional Medicine is known for its arthritis and immunity benefits.
Blue California’s other green tea extracts are L-theanine (98 percent), Natural Caffeine (99 percent) and Green Tea Extract (98 percent).
The new offering is taste, color or odor-free and Blue California emphasized its low-cost without specifying its spot price.
“We have studied the market and we are confident that our ingredient will compete in quality with the best in the market but at a much better price,” executive vice president, Cecilia McCollum, told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
“It can be used in beverages, functional foods, cosmetics, topical creams as well as cosmeceuticals, weight loss dietary supplements and antioxidant/anti-aging formulas,”
McCollum said the US market would be the primary focus but international potential existed.
“Many of our major customers have divisions in Europe, Latin America and Asia, thus, finished products with this ingredient will be available throughout the world,” she said.
Growing consumer awareness and education was creating a market where consumers expected more from functional ingredients, she observed.
“There is a growing need for higher-purity and quality ingredients,” she said. “With this economy consumers are learning to spend their money wisely and manufacturers have learned painful lessons from using lower quality materials in order to reduce costs.”
She noted the problems other weight loss ingredients such as hoodia have had in authenticating their purity but said this problem did not plague the green tea market as extracts, “can be easily validated.”
“Not too long ago, there were several ingredients offered for weight loss that were easily adulterated and not easy to test or validate,” she said. “[This] gave way to outright and rampant fraud by a few at a great loss of consumer confidence.”
Blue California’s ingredient was backed by “numerous clinical studies done world-wide.”
UK-based Tate & Lyle recently entered the green tea market by linking with a Canadian coffee and tea specialist to distribute a green tea extract in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
That deal with A. Holliday gave Tate & Lyle exclusive distribution rights outside of North America for its ingredient, called Teawell 95, that also has a 95 per cent concentration of (EGCG).
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).
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 marketing for the product after 26 US states took issue with the product’s provocative marketing.