South American imports shine at SupplySide West; photo gallery

SupplySide West took place last week in Las Vegas at The Venetian Hotel and The Sands Expo and Convention Center. The event, which bills itself as “the world's largest event for healthy and innovative ingredients,” drew over 1,000 exhibitors. BevNET visited dozens of ingredient suppliers and beverage formulators at the show (see PHOTO GALLERY).

While many of the ingredients featured at the show are lab-formulated, dietary supplement-grade compounds, others are raw ingredients such as fruit concentrates, purees and juices. One such raw ingredient promoted strongly at this year’s show was maqui. Maqui is a wild-harvested berry from Chile which has a high antioxidant juice and which is currently featured in a handful of ready-to-drink beverages on the market, including Honest Tea’s Maqui Berry Grapefruit Kombucha and Passion Fruit Green Tea with Maqui Berry.

Altalena’s booth was set up exclusively to showcase its supply of maqui. Headquartered in Chile, but with a domestic office in Los Angeles, Altalena is banking on maqui becoming the next hot ingredient in beverages. Maqui was also on display in the booths of HP Ingredients and Stiebs. Apart from offering maqui as a raw ingredient, HP also sells maqui supplements and maqui juice direct to consumers under the brand name Novelle.

Of course, novel raw ingredients often present supply chain issues, as illustrated by some of the recent supply issues experienced by stevia, acai and coconut water. One exhibitor suggested that maqui could experience some of those supply challenges, especially since it is wild harvested. Altalena’s managing director Roni Gloger told us that Chile has at least three or four high-antioxidant berries such as Maqui, but his company realizes that, in order to avoid supply issues, it is important to focus on the supply and development of one at a time.

Another South American import on display was purple corn, known as “chicha” in Peru. Mark Hein from Peruvian Heritage explained that purple corn is the base ingredient in a popular Peruvian drink called Chicha Morada, a blend of fruits, spices and purple corn. Peruvian Heritage sells purple corn extract under the brand Juventol. Promotional literature from Hein claimed Juventol has nearly twice the ORAC value of acai and maqui.

Offering something less exotic but no less healthy was Muscadine Products Corporation (MPC) of Wray, Georgia. MPC grows and sells muscadines, a grape native to the southeastern region of the US. According to MPC, muscadines have “one of the highest levels of total antioxidants and ellagic acid of any fruit tested”. The company refers to muscadines as the “superfruit of the south”. The company sells muscadine seed powder, skin powder,  seed and skin powder, juice, and concentrate.

Elsewhere at the show, L-Theanine, the popular relaxation ingredient derived from tea, showed no signs of slowing down.  Blue California noted its own brand is nearing GRAS approval for its L-Theanine, following on the heels of Ethical Naturals’ recently GRAS-approved L-Theanine entry, AlphaWave

Many of the prototype beverage samples at the show featured stevia blends as their sweetener. There was a notable disparity in quality between some of the formulations as a few still exhibited the bitter aftertaste and licorice flavor notes that were the hallmark of early stevia products.

Not all the beverages at the show were non-commercial prototypes. Rob Paul, founder of Nawgan, was on hand at the Kyowa booth on Thursday afternoon serving samples his 8 oz. “brain supplement.” Nawgan features an array of ingredients designed to improve memory and thinking skills, including Kyowa’s alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline and citicoline (cognizin). Another branded beverage spotted at the show was EVR. Pronounced “ever”, each bottle of EVR contains 30 mg of pharmaceutical grade resveratrol, sourced from Fluxome, a Danish biotech company. EVR is available in Grape, Pomegranate and Wild Berry flavors.

BevNET’s coverage of SupplySide West 2010 is sponsored by GLG Life Tech Corporation. GLG is an integrated manufacturer of high purity stevia extracts, the sweet glycosides extracted from the Stevia plant. To learn more about GLG and their latest product BlendSure, visit