How customized can these extracts get?
“This can be as simple as swapping out conventional herbs for organic ones, or choosing carriers or solvents to transform it into an organic standardized extract,” Wilson Lau, VP of sales and marketing and third-generation member of his family business Nuherbs Co., told NutraIngredients-USA.
And that just scratches the surface. “We can develop an extract that is water soluble, if the current offerings are not. We can offer pre-mixes. We can help standardize the carriers, bulk density, particle sizes, so that our customers don’t have to manipulate the ingredients prior to use, increasing their operational efficiencies,” he added.
Nuherbs first started offering a form of extract tailoring in 2017, which used Nuherbs organic and Nuherbs Lab Tested herbs to manufacture a simple extract, allowing customers to choose the ratio of solvent and what carrier to use.
The more tailored service will be available from Nuherbs starting 2019, Lau said. The Bespoke Extracts capability comes thanks to a partnership with China-based R&D and extraction company World-Way Biotech Inc.
The rise of gummy, liquid supplements creates market for bespoke extracts
There’s a market for this level of specification, Lau said, especially as many dietary supplement manufacturers move away from the pill, tablet, or capsule format.
“As the industry increasingly moves from primarily solid dosage forms to other delivery formats, the currently available extracts have technical issues, such as solubility and taste, that can be problematic in beverages, foods and gummies, for example,” he explained.
“There are many indicators, but look at the market trends, look at the growth in functional foods and it’s clear that formulators need ingredient forms that work for the products they are creating.”
The company sources over 300 different Chinese herbs that can be used in the Bespoke Extracts Platform.
“Sometimes, our client has a supply chain for the raw material, and we are doing the extraction for them. So, the possibilities are almost endless, but our core competency is premium Chinese botanicals,” he added.
Can you guarantee efficacy with customized extracts?
One main concern in the realm of herbal products is efficacy—different parts of a plant have different bioactives or levels of bioactives. So when different clients customize an extract of, say, turmeric, would health studies on branded ingredients standardized to a different chemical make-up still apply to this fully customized turmeric extract?
“Branded ingredients are a different beast,” Lau said. “It is absolutely correct that every branded ingredient supplier that has proprietary clinical studies can make specific claims based on their own research.
“But there are plenty of standardized extracts with general science behind them that need an alternative. We are not here to replace XZY branded extract with a cheaper generic; Nuherbs Bespoke extracts are here to bring value to the companies that seek to use our custom-made extracts to solve an issue or issues that they currently are facing.”