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‘Exceptional’ new salt-enhancer discontinued as ex-Firmenich execs exit Horphag

By Elaine Watson , 26-Apr-2012
Last updated on 26-Apr-2012 at 17:33 GMT

Horphag Research has parted company with the executives it brought in to run its new functional foods and beverages division Horphag Research Nutrition (HRN) and discontinued Salty-R, the first product to emerge from it.

However, the company remains committed to turning star ingredient Pycnogenol - a potent antioxidant from the bark of the maritime pine tree – into the next big thing in functional foods, and continues to develop other natural nutritional ingredients, said chief executive Victor Ferrari.

Ferrari was speaking to us after it emerged that Salty-R, a clean-label salt-taste enhancer bosses claimed had generated “phenomenal interest ” at its launch at Supply Side West last year - had been discontinued.

Ferrari would not comment on the developments, but confirmed that former Firmenich executives Markus Beba and David Johnston - who took the helm of the newly formed HRN division last September - have left the company.

Salty-R discontinued

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after launching Salty-R at Supply Side West last year, Beba and Johnston said: “There has been a phenomenal interest to the extent that we exhausted all sample stock.

“We are currently working with major global players where the feedback has been exceptional. It's difficult to say exactly when the first consumer products will hit the market but we expect significant sales by mid 2012.”

Used alone, Salty-R could help food manufacturers slash salt by 25-35%, but in combination with potassium chloride (KCl), could facilitate reductions of 50% and reduce metallic off notes from the KCl, they claimed.

They would not reveal the source of Salty-R, which was described as coming from a “vegetable source”, but added: “While it is proprietary information, we spent the better part of four years identifying the best sources of micro-organisms, proteins and fermentation conditions.”

Double digit sales growth for Pycnogenol

Horphag’s flagship ingredient Pycnogenol - a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids extracted from the bark of the maritime pine – is included in more than 700 dietary supplements, cosmetic products and functional foods and beverages worldwide.

The ingredient has been the subject of scores of clinical studies suggesting benefits covering everything from cardiovascular, joint, cognitive and eye health to the relief of hay fever, PMS, tinnitus, haemorrhoidal pain and menopause symptoms.

Strong demand for Pycnogenol is driving double-digit sales growth at the company, boosted by strong demand in South America, Asia, and Japan in particular.

Functional foods and beverages applications

While it has had huge success in the dietary supplements market, Pycnogenol was also well suited to food and beverage applications because it was water-soluble and heat stable, Ferrari told NutraIngredients-USA last year.

There was also a growing opportunity to develop products combining Pycnogenol with other ingredients to target specific health condition categories such as joint health (with glucosamine/chondroitin or collagen hydrolysates), heart health (with CoQ10) or eye health (with lutein or other ingredients), said Ferrari.

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