Riddet Institute scientists have recently invented a new technology to manufacture a composite ingredient called FlavoPlus™. This ingredient can be incorporated into functional food products to increase their flavonoid content.

National Science Challenge HVN Science of Food Team (L-R) Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, Dr Alejandra Acevedo-Fani and Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Flavonoids are produced by plants and are generally consumed from fruits and vegetables. Many flavonoids have therapeutic and pharmacological properties; antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and/or anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, few people actively consume a balanced diet, to provide the full benefits of these compounds. Additionally, a high dosage of flavonoids is required in the daily diet to achieve the benefit. In the case of rutin (a common flavonoid found mostly in buckwheat and citrus fruit), for example, the current recommended consumption is 500 mg per day. The daily intake of flavonoids such as rutin in a typical Western diet is much lower (the typical intake is 10 mg/day).

While dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and sachets provide flavonoid benefits if taken, they lose their effects due to flavonoid instability and some are unpalatable. Many people do not like to consume supplements or forget to take them regularly enough to gain the benefits. Many of the flavonoids cannot simply be added to food products, as they have poor solubility and react with other food components. Flavonoids are often unstable or affect the texture and taste and/or flavour of foods, so a new solution was needed to overcome these challenges.

FlavoPlus™, is a response to these challenges, as it allows the incorporation of high concentration of a protected form of flavonoids, in both conventional and novel foods. There is also the added advantage that FlavoPlus™ has an excellent solubility in water and has long shelf life at room temperature. If we compare with products currently available, this ingredient provides a less expensive solution for food manufacturers to deliver health benefits. Food products containing FlavoPlus™ show significantly better stability and sensorial properties, compared with their control products or products manufactured using unprotected flavonoids.

‘FlavoPlus is a simple, cost-effective, and biodegradable composite ingredient for delivering high concentrations of health-promoting compounds. We’re very excited by the opportunity that this invention provides for consumers and food manufacturers’, says Dr. Ali Rashidinejad, Riddet Institute scientist and lead inventor.

FlavoPlus has been scaled-up at Massey FoodPilot and the functional foods containing this delivery system, such as yoghurts and beverages, have been manufactured at the industrial scale. The invention, which is one of the outcomes of the Science of Food Programme funded by High Value Nutrition (HVN) National Challenge, has recently been published as a PCT patent application (WO2020095238A1; PCT/IB2019/059560), and is now available for commercialisation.

Article courtesy of the Riddet Institute.