RFI gets organic certification, expands botanical extract business

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Organic food

Functional ingredient supplier RFI has received organic certification for its New York powder blend facility, and has also announced the acquisition of a botanical extract plant in Colorado.

Botanical extracts

RFI said this week that it has acquired its long-term partner Wilsey and Sons, which manufactures flavor and botanical extracts and concentrates.

The acquisition includes Wilsey’s manufacturing facility in Colorado, which will allow the firm to domestically produce some products currently being made offshore, according to RFI’s CEO Jeff Wuagneux.

“This will enable us to be more cost effective in certain product categories, such as organic fermentation products and organic fruit and vegetable powders. By controlling these key ingredients in the USA at our own facility we expect to not only improve the quality of these products, but we also project future cost efficiencies,”​ he told NutraIngredients-USA.com

The company was unable to give an indication of the cost savings likely to be obtained, as this remains unsure until production kicks in. However, RFI confirmed that the addition of the Colorado facility would be “financially beneficial for both RFI and their customers”.

Mild extraction process

Wilsey’s proprietary extraction technology, originally developed by Hauser Chemical Research (now bankrupt), is said to produce highly concentrated flavors, antioxidants and botanical extracts, using minimal solvent.

According to the firm, this eliminates the need for further thermal concentration, which may otherwise drive off top notes, or degrade phytochemicals. The result of this more “gentle”​ process is high marker botanical extracts for nutraceuticals, and fresh, full-flavored liquid extracts for food and beverage applications, said RFI.

The new plant, which has been renamed RFI Extracts, will also produce custom extracts made from “a variety of dried raw materials using a number of food-grade solvent systems”.

In the future, the company said it plans to expand its drying, milling, blending and extract purification technologies at the facility.

Organic blends

RFI also said its recently completed powder blend plant in New York has received organic certification from Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA).

The certification means RFI now controls its organic manufacturing chain from raw material cultivation and harvesting to extraction, processing, blending and packaging.

It comes a month after the completion of the firm’s new contract manufacturing facility located at its headquarters in Blauvelt, New York. The plant will be used for contract dry blending of custom powder blends for capsules and tablets as well as blending and packaging powdered drink mixes.

According to RFI, having its own blending facility positions it as a vertically-integrated company. In addition, it allows for shorter lead-times as the headquarters also house the firm’s laboratory and warehouse, meaning that transport times can be reduced.

Capacity and certification

RFI told NutraIngredients-USA.com last month that it ultimately plans to conduct the majority (around 85 percent) of its blending in-house. The new facility, which was up and running in June this year, is currently at 30-40 percent capacity and plans to be running at full capacity in a year’s time.

At full capacity, the facility can handle around 10,000 kilos of powder blends per day.

RFI said its facility is kosher and Halal-approved, and also has organic certification.

The firm’s main focus is on organic ingredients for the functional food and dietary supplement market, such as beverage mixes, spirulina and chlorella.

Other ingredients the company provides include antioxidants, fruit and vegetable powders, cereal grasses, and botanical compounds.

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