- Brightseed, a five-year-old startup that uses artificial intelligence to find molecules in plants that could have the biggest health and nutrition benefits in humans, is launching its first ingredient for the food and beverage industry, the company said in a statement.
- The dietary fiber made from hemp hulls designed to support gut health was discovered by Brightseed’s artificial intelligence platform Forager. The bioactive ingredient, known as Brightseed Bio 01, will be first used in a protein crisp jointly developed with pea protein giant Puris.
- The fast-growing Brightseed, which raised $68 million in May, has partnered with companies such as Danone, Ocean Spray and OFI to get a deeper understanding of plants and their health benefits to drive future product innovation.
As consumers look for nutritional benefits in addition to sustenance from food and beverage products, companies like Brightseed are ideally positioned to benefit.
It’s a big reason why a handful of well-known CPGs have partnered with the young San Francisco-based company during the last few years to get a deeper understanding of plants and their health benefits to drive future product innovation. They are no doubt hoping that Brightseed will uncover more promising offerings from its portfolio of bioactives discovered by Forager.
“More than ever, people are turning to the food and beverage industry for proactive and personalized health solutions,” Sofia Elizondo, co-founder and COO, said in a statement. “Brightseed Bio 01 is the latest demonstration of how Forager A.I. is furthering our understanding of how bioactives found in nature are powerful catalysts to improve human healthspan.”
Bioactives are small molecule compounds produced by plants, fungi and microbes. According to Brightseed, active ingredients derived from bioactive compounds include caffeine in tea, the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes and curcumin in turmeric. In addition, they are the source of the active ingredients in aspirin and Metformin, used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
Brightseed Bio 01 is the only dietary fiber that contains two compounds that have shown the ability to support the gut in preclinical studies, the company said. Trials demonstrating its effect on humans are currently underway. The ingredient also is sourced from upcycled hemp hulls, which fits into the growing push toward reusing food items that might otherwise be discarded.
While preclinical studies in laboratory models showing Brightseed’s bioactive supports gut health may be too early to provide a definitive conclusion, it’s promising enough for Puris and potentially others later on to try it.
Brightseed Bio 01 can be easily integrated into cereals, granola, nutrition bars and functional beverages, among other popular items, making it an attractive addition to a slew of products, the company said. It’s also loaded with fiber that further enhances its better-for-you credentials.
Dietary fiber is associated with digestive health and reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, according to a 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health. Still, even though many people are aware of these benefits, only about 5% of people consume the recommended daily intake.
“Brightseed Bio 01 not only demonstrates how Forager is rapidly translating insights into tangible products for the marketplace but offers a true evolution in the field of nutrition science to benefit consumer health,” said Alina Slotnik, vice president of bioactives at Brightseed.