- Dolcas Tenshi Bioceuticals has a new curcumin ingredient that is water-soluble, allowing it to be mixed into beverages while maintaining its high concentration of the active nutrients that consumers crave from turmeric, according to a release emailed to Food Dive. Curcugen will formally be introduced at this year’s Vitafoods show in Geneva.
- Curcugen can also be used in powder form, and was developed using a unique technology to optimize its compositoin, which aids in purity and absorption.
- “We believe Curcugen’s comprehensive profile will generate significant interest and readily establish itself even in this, the most crowded of curcumin markets, since it overcomes a number of limitations including delivery, potency, bioavailability and clean-label appeal,” Shavon Jackson-Michel, a naturopathic physician and Dolcas Tenshi's director of medical and scientific affairs, said in the statement.
There is nothing new about the saying, “you are what you eat,” but what is new is the manner in which consumers take this aphorism to heart.
Consumers today are increasingly interested in natural ways to improve their health, evidenced by the "food as medicine" movement. Medical foods are still a relatively new category for manufacturers, but as the global population ages, medical complications will inevitably increase, and many consumers will manage ailments with food.
Turmeric is one of the trendiest ingredients to fit this movement's prescription. When consumed daily, turmeric, which contains curcumin, has been linked to improving a gene that causes depression, asthma, eczema and even cancer. Although many consumers are aware of the health benefits of turmeric, some may feel limited by its strong flavor profile. While welcome in ethnic cuisines that are gaining popularity, the flavor is not always a sought-after addition to Western fare.
Consuming turmeric in hopes of absorbing the health properties of curcumin is also not necessarily the most efficient choice. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed curcumin had poor bioavilability in the yellow-orange spice with which most consumers are familiar.
In an effort to solve this conundrum, Dolcas Tenshi Bioceuticals' ingredient extracted the active curcumin ingredient to make it usable without adding other ingredients. The extraction method is also what allows its molecules to be water soluble. This formulation allows for the absorption of all the benefits by a consumer without the taste or color staining power for which turmeric is well known.
Faced with an aging population and consumers’ increased health awareness of health, a potent and hyper-trendy functional ingredient should grab manufacturers’ attention. According to a report from Technavio, the global functional foods and beverage market is anticipated to grow at a steady rate and will post a compound annual growth rate of close to 8% from 2017 to 2021. For that same period, analysts forecast a CAGR of 6.53% for the U.S. market.
While Curcugen could be used in traditional supplement formats, manufacturers might do better to introduce the ingredient into foods that consumers are more inclined to reach for, like snack bars or beverages. However, it may take some education to show consumers that Curcugen can deliver the same health benefits of turmeric. Companies who use this ingredient are going to have to explicitly call it out in their marketing and labeling in order to entice customers to jump on board and continue the hype that turmeric has been riding for the last several years.