While the push for laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified ingredients has stalled in the United States, consumers are still very aware of the issue, said Scott Smith, vice president of Taiyo International.
“Although Taiyo has long provided non-GMO confirmation and process verification related to all of its ingredients, we continue to see strong interest from both the food and supplement industry to have third party verification, including both the Non-GMO Project and the True North program,” Smith told NutraIngredients-USA.
Momentum builds behind certification
The certification that food and supplement products are free from genetically modified organisms has been gaining steam for years. The Non GMO Project, which was born out of a collaboration of a couple of health food stores in 2007, now claims that 43,000 products have been verified representing more than $19 billion in sales.
Suntheanine is a branded form of L-theanine, produced via a patented enzymatic process using the amino acids ethylamine and L-glutamine that assures an isomerically pure L-theanine.
“As an ingredient supplier, we felt that offering verification on the raw material would provide our customers with yet another benefit to using our ingredients. Furthermore, Taiyo stands ready to assist all of our customers with getting their own products certified, so that they may also use the Verification in their product labeling and marketing,”he said.
“The Non-GMO Project reviewed and scrutinized every aspect of our manufacturing, handling, sourcing and testing of Suntheanine. This includes all raw materials, enzymes and processing aids,”Smith said.
At the end of the day, Smith said the verification process is more about bolstering transparency than it is about making any sort of statement about the benefits and risks of genetic modification.
“Our job as ingredient and product manufacturers is to find as many ways as possible to provide this information and work to build trust in the industry. Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Natural, Kosher, Halal and GMP are only a few of the methods that we have to provide these consumers with the tools to make their purchasing decisions,” he said.
Market growing for ingredient
Suntheanine is marketed as a relaxation and focus ingredient that can also aid in sleep. The world’s aging population, a group of consumers who often complain about not sleeping as well as they used to, bodes well for the ingredient’s future prospects, Smith said.
“The market for Suntheanine, in both supplement and beverage applications, continues to grow. This is not only related to relaxation, but more importantly reduction in stress, improved focus and concentration (especially in energy formulations), as well as quality sleep support,” he said.
“Taiyo has several clinical studies looking at the benefits of Suntheanine for geriatrics, both in relation to improving focus and attention, as well as improving quality of sleep. This is an area of research that Taiyo is actively supporting, not only for Suntheanine, but for many of its ingredients,” Smith said.