Demand for black raspberry seed oil drives company’s expansion

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Demand for black raspberry seed oil drives company’s expansion
Increasing demand for one of its signature products has led low-profile company Botanic Innovations to more than double the size of its Wisconsin facility.

The company, founded by Mark Mueller, who now serves as chief technology officer, has sold a variety of seed oils and fruit powders into the dietary supplement, personal care and food markets for almost two decades. But the increasing public attention toward health and wellness has raised the profile of one of the company’s flagship products: Black raspberry seed oil.

Mueller said the black raspberry seed oil ingredient is patented for its ability to help maintain healthy blood pressure and its use in supporting a healthy immunological response. It is a non-GMO ingredient, and the raw material is sourced exclusively in North America. 

Small scale producer

Mueller said Botanic Innovations differs from some other processors of seed oils in that it uses a cold pressing process which employs no heat or solvents. It yields a clean ingredient whose chief constituents have not been denatured by harsh processing.

Mueller said he’s not surprised if some people within the industry haven’t heard of his company.

“We’ve been around for about 18 years now. We started with one person and one press using a cold press process. When you start from that level, even with some good growth, after five years you are still pretty small,”​ Mueller said. 

Botanic Innovations’ location in a northern Wisconsin hamlet has also contributed to it having flown under the radar. The company’s processing facility is located in Spooner, population about 2,500. The increasing demand for the company’s products means the processing facility will go to about 28,000 square feet from its present 12,000 square feet, Mueller said.

“We are essentially a craft producer of oils. We produce high quality materials but at a small level compared to some of the major oil producers,”​ Mueller said.

IP backs ingredient

Mueller said when he started producing black raspberry and other seed oils, little was known about their chemical makeup. Over the years Botanic Innovations has developed a significant amount of IP surrounding the black raspberry seed oil ingredient that led to the patent filing. 

“At that time there was really no published literature on the physical and chemical characteristics of these oils,” ​Mueller said.

Mueller said the black raspberry seed oil ingredient contains six of the eight vitamin E isomers. The high vitamin E content means the oil has naturally high shelf stability, he said. In addition, it contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

“Black Raspberry Seed Oil also contains almost 30% ALA and 48% omega-6 fatty acids. While the American diet contains too many refined omega-6s, unadulterated omega-6 – such as that found in our cold-pressed oil – is an essential fatty acid that the body needs,” ​he added.

In addition to being a supplier of oils, Botanic Innovations has its own line of finished product brands branded as Immuno-Viva. A pilot study the company has done on one of the blends in the line that include black raspberry and black cumin seed oils supports the claim to boosting certain immune system function markers as well as showing a trend toward lowered blood pressure, Mueller said.

Asian research, and an Asian customer

More recently, a published study on black raspberry seed oil done in South Korea​ shows that it may have powerful anti inflammatory properties. In a study done on obese diabetic mice, researchers tested three diets: A control diet with 16% of calories supplied by soybean oil, an intermediate diet that supplied 8% of calories from soybean oil and 8% from black raspberry seed oil (BRS), and 16% from BRS alone. “Results of this study suggest that BRS oil may have anti-inflammatory effects in obese diabetic mice by ameliorating inflammatory responses,”​ the researchers concluded.

On the supply side, Botanic Innovations’ blending expertise has landed it a big Asian customer, a network marketing company based in Singapore called AXXA Global, which markets a single product called AXXA SO Plus.  It contains a blend of Botanic Innovations’ products, including black raspberry seed oil and black cumin seed oil, as well as d-ribose packaged as single serving gels. 

It is positioned as a natural energy alternative to products that contain caffeine, Mueller said. AXXA Global’s website lists offices in a number of locations and countries in East Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Thailand as well as an office in Hungary.

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