The Benolea-branded ingredient – to be officially launched at next week’s SupplySide West event in Las Vegas – is described as water soluble for use in still or carbonated beverages, and is also stable in film-coated tablets.
Laurent Leduc, VP of Health for Frutarom Americas told NutraIngredients-USA, that the ingredient does not have GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for use in food and beverages in the US. "Most of our US customers will be using Benolea in a capsule or tablet as a dietary supplement," he added.
Despite not being approved yet for use in food and beverages, the company will be demonstrating it in chocolate in Las Vegas "as it can be a challenge and we like to highlight Frutaorm’s health ingredients (botanicals, ie: olive) along with flavor solutions – this is a company with diverse strengths".
The ingredient is backed up by data in the scientific literature. Earlier this year scientists from the University of Indonesia reported that the olive leaf extract was as effective in lowering blood pressure as the common hypertension medication Captopril (Phytomedicine, Vol. 18, pp. 251-258, doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.08.016).
The ingredient is also reported to exert a positive influence on LDL cholesterol and play a beneficial role in moderating blood-sugar levels.
Heart health market
The US heart health market is in rude health. Market data from Windrose Partners president Greg Stephens at the SupplySide East show in New Jersey in May revealed that new heart healthy food, drink and dietary supplement launches have tripled in the past five years, and now account for 1.5 percent of all new launches.
Stephens also predicted that the data suggested that there was a lot more scope for growth as consumers moved beyond cholesterol and blood pressure and new ingredients hit the market.
Sales of US heart health ingredients (wholesale) topped $563m in 2008 and were predicted to exceed $1bn by 2012, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 20%, he added.
“By maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, Benolea is one of the most beneficial cardiovascular ingredients in the marketplace,” said Leduc.
“It should be taken daily as part of a healthy diet, especially since The World Health Organization cites cardiovascular diseases as the number one cause of death globally.”
According to Frutarom, the olive leaf extract is produced using a patented selective process called EFLAHyperPure, which uses vegetable oils and a specialized filtration system instead of toxic solvents to ensure the safe and selective removal of lipophilic and microbial contaminants such as toxins or environmental pollutants.
This is said to ensure a high degree of purity, excellent solubility and improved stability as well as a unique constituents profile compared to other botanical extracts currently in the market.
Leduc added that the olive leaves are sourced from the Mediterranean.
Beyond heart health, there have also been suggested benefits for brain health: Another study with gerbils, just published in Phytomedicine, also suggests potential neuroprotective benefits of the extract (doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2011.05.010).