Consumers are demanding more than certifications; they want to know what is going into the products they consume.
Sustainable, traceable, and transparent messages are expected, and demand for messaging surrounding botanical integrity is on the rise. Botanical integrity is synonymous with premium quality and can be defined as identity, purity, potency, and safety; however, to attain these elements you must have traceability to the initial source of the botanical.
An article published in the April 2015 issue of HerbalEGram states: “Going beyond just ‘quality control,’ botanical integrity combines disparate aspects of defining and assessing plant-derived materials and products for human consumption: identity (correct plant species and plant part), homogeneity (absence of contaminations by other species and chemicals, often called ‘purity’ but different than the regulatory use of that term), biological potency (the presence of bioactive principles in desired amounts; a prerequisite for in vivo efficacy), and safety (an adequate toxicological profile).”1
Verdure recognizes that botanical integrity is not limited to human consumption; it expands into many avenues and functional applications such as personal care, animal health, and nutrition.
Botanical integrity requires a multi-disciplinary approach that combines the various areas of expertise in botanical examination, certification, phytochemical analysis, and safety assessments. Transparency of scientific assessment in botanical integrity is a fundamental principle that Verdure abides by and is seen through a multitude of collaborative efforts including but not limited to:
- American Herbal Products Association (AHPA): Provides support to develop Good Stewardship Harvesting practices documents for Boswellia serrata
- United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)
- Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP)
- American Botanical Council (ABC)
- Alkemist Assured™: Offers consumer friendly Certificate of Analysis (COA) services
- American Botanical Council Botanical Adulterants program (ABC AHP NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program): Successful collaboration of the saffron bulletin
- Published method for pomegranate adulteration analysis
- Non-GMO Project
- National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) preferred supplier
- Detox Project: Offers glyphosate residue free certification
- National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF): Provides NSF sport certification for manufacturing facility; updated GMP certifications
- Union for Ethical BioTrade-Rainforest Alliance (UEBT-RA): Gives ethical biodiversity and transparency certification
Why is this important?
Thanks to evolving lifestyles and growing health awareness, the botanicals market is anticipated to reach over US $207 billion by 2032, expanding at a CAGR of 7% between 2023 and 2032.2,3
Further, the industry is said to be experiencing growth primarily driven by the rising health-conscious consumers, in conjunction with clean-label trends in the pharmaceutical, food, and beverage industries.3 Consumers are increasingly turning to healthier alternatives while adopting preventive care as an essential tool to enhance their overall well-being. Consequently, botanical ingredients are being increasingly used in the production of food and beverages as they are a rich source of bioactive compounds and render a diverse range of biological effects.3
These consumers are not only seeking healthy lifestyles but have an endless amount of information at their fingertips. It is important to be able to easily communicate honesty and transparently through validated, sustainable, reliable efforts.
Ashwagandha: A case study
“When a botanical becomes extremely popular, as ashwagandha has, there is always risk of adulteration as supplies become strained and charlatans see there is money to be made cutting corners,” explains Elan Sudberg, CEO, Alkemist Labs. “The expertise of the testing lab that confirms identity, purity, and potency is the gatekeeper to quality.
“As one of the first ingredient suppliers to join the Alkemist Assured™ program, Verdure Sciences® has made it clear that confirming quality is their priority.”
From leaves to roots to a combination of both, ashwagandha extracts have gained mainstream attention. Consumers across the globe have harnessed the power of this potent adaptogen for its purported health benefits. And with increased demand there also comes growing need for clean label, traceable and transparent extracts. Consumers are not only demanding more ashwagandha, they are also demanding knowledge about its growing, harvesting, and standardization storylines.
“Unfortunately, growing demand also lends itself to adulteration by less scrupulous players,” explains Kristen Marshall, Digital Marketing Manager, Verdure Sciences®. “And that is why it is so important for us here at Verdure that we communicate openly and honestly about our ingredient solutions.”
These efforts are a part of the bigger picture to include sustainable approaches with integrity in each avenue of business. It is a key pillar for Verdure.
Marshall explains: “While Verdure has always held botanical integrity, sustainability, traceability, and transparency as key pillars of business, we are now sharing these messages in a more meaningful way for our customers through Verdugration® and Verdure Cares®.”
Verdugration® is Verdure’s internal mission for sustainable, socially conscious, and transparent global stewardship with particular focus on the plants, ingredients, environment, and processes. In addition, Verdure Cares® is a subset of Verdugration®, which focuses on sustainable partnerships, social impact, and the team at Verdure.
Verdure’s Executive VP, Sonya Cropper, has expressed excitement for the aligned efforts toward clean label, transparent solutions for consumers. “The Alkemist Assured™ seal provides accurate ingredient quality assurance, which is paramount to Verdure.
“While we feel compelled to provide transparency in quality assurance offering our customers value, earning consumer trust is the right thing to do for all.”
Bhaumik Darji, Quality Assurance Manager at Verdure Sciences® mirrors Cropper’s sentiments. “Verdure Sciences® has always committed to delivering high quality ingredients by testing for identity, strength, purity and contaminants. We are excited to partner with Alkemist Labs on the Alkemist Assured™ program.
“This expanded partnership helps communicate our commitment to quality, integrity and transparency. This program provides additional transparency in testing that supports our commitment to botanical integrity.”
1. Simmler, C.; Chen, S. N.; Anderson, J.; et al. (2015). Botanical integrity: The importance of the integration of chemical, biological, and botanical analyses, and the role of DNA barcoding. HerbalGram. 106: 58-60.
2. GlobalNewswire. Botanicals market is poised to value over USD 207.3 billion by 2032 | CAGR 7.0%.
3. Grand View Research. Botanical ingredients market size, shared & trends analysis report by source (spices, flowers), by form (powder, liquid), by application (food & beverage, personal care & cosmetics), by region, and segment forecasts, 2023-2030.