The new ingredient and testing approach is part and parcel of the company’s new, aggressive strategy, said Jeff Avila, vice president of sales and marketing. It’s representative of a change in ownership, with Manhattan-based private equity firm GenNx360 having made a significant investment in the New Jersey-based company in March, 2014.
“The mission now is to build the business significantly and bring a portfolio of ingredients leading in innovation to the the nutraceutical and functional food industries,” Avila told NutraIngredients-USA. “Novel has been around for about 16 years now and historically we have mainly been a common botanical ingredient distributor. We had a pretty one-dimensional business.”
Under the new partnership, Novel has invested heavily in new manufacturing capabilities, including the acquisition of what the company calls a “pharma grade” 40,000-square-foot facility in New Jersey.
“We have invested quite a bit in process technology. We are working on enhanced absorption, and the ability to create tablets with fewer excipients. We are also working on powder instantization and flavor balancing techniques,” Avila said.
In addition to new manufacturing and formulation capabilities, the company is also is filling up its innovation hopper, Avila said.
The new ingredient, branded as Kinetiq, is an updated version of one of the ingredient supplier’s tried-and-true offerings, Advantra Z, a Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) extract. The new ingredient pairs the extract with some additional citrus bioflavonoids in a patented formula, said Avila.
“We are working around ingredient innovation. We are building a pipeline of unique ingredients we can offer to our customer base. We have a pipeline that takes into 2017, and Kinetiq is among the first of those. It is the next generation C. aurantium extract. We believe there is a synergistic effect with the additional bioflavonoids, which amounts to what we call a patented thermogenic combination. With the additional bioflavonoids, we have clinical data that shows it significantly increases resting metabolic rate without raising blood pressure,” Avila said.
The company has also used its new capabilities to improve the flavor profile of the ingredient. Avila said the old Advantra Z lived up to the name of its parent botanical. It was highly bitter, limiting its application pretty much just to supplements. Kinetiq has benefited from Novel's new flavor balancing capabilities to yield a milder tasting ingredient suitable for beverages or functional foods, he said.
DNA testing methodology
While it might seem too good to be true, Avila is adamant that Novel was working on a DNA testing regimen well before the opening salvo of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s attack on the dietary supplement industry. Schneiderman managed to drive a deal with GNC in which the supplement retailing giant agreed to use the technique where appropriate to test the incoming raw material for its herbal supplements and report the results to Schneiderman’s office.
“We had been thinking about this prior to everything that happened with GNC and the Attorney General. It certainly sped up our thinking in realizing this was becoming a standard in the industry,” Avila said.
Part of that thought process was to do some research to see if better testing resonated with consumers. Avila said the results were encouraging.
“We talked to about 1,000 supplement users about how educated they were about quality issues and whether they would be willing to pay more to support more testing. It highlighted our view that there is a real opportunity. We will leverage our strong quality organizations both here in the US and in Asia,” he said.
The new testing regimen, which the company is branding as DNA Pur, will test incoming raw materials at partnering labs and then generate a chain of custody for that lot of material, Avila said.
“Once the DNA test is established, that will generate a certificate for that lot. The certificate will live with that lot of material through our facility and right through to our customers’ warehouses,” he said.
Novel will be highlighting its new ingredient and testing services at its booth no. 1821 on the show floor at the Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas in early October.