If all you're looking for is commodity salt or aspartame, SupplySide West is not the show for you. But if you're interested in ingredients for health and nutrition, especially those on the cutting edge, its 1,300 exhibitors probably have something for you.
At this year's show – Oct. 15-18 in Las Vegas – we came across five ingredients you're probably not be familiar with -- worth looking into for their health-imparting properties and certainly for their novelty.
Puratein Canola Protein: Sure, you've used canola oil, as have most home cooks, but Merit Functional Foods, which has been manufacturing pea proteins, claims to be the first developer of canola protein.
Obviously a plant protein, it has a clean, mild flavor, high solubility and is non-GMO and 90% protein. It has a protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of 1. "It also is a great emulsifier and gelling agent," says Ryan Bracken, co-CEO. It's so new the company won't be able to start shipping till next October, although it's taking orders now.
Palm Fruit Bioactive Complex: It has no catchy product name yet, other than PFBc for short, but it's being commercialized by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors, who founded Phenolaeis with the help of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. Palm fruit gets squeezed for the most-used vegetable oil in the world (not so in North America), but there are some interesting bioactives remaining in what has been wastewater from the process.
Polyphenols, soluble fiber, antioxidants and other trace ingredients are extracted and reduced to a powder that's a powerful antioxidant, according to its developers. It also can take some of the bitter edge off stevia. Phenolaeis built a mill on a new palm plantation in Mexico. Two years in development, the first ingredients are just coming available.
Carnosyn: Histidine is a basic amino acid – essential but in no short supply in the body and diet -- that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Beta alanine has been used for some time in sports nutrition. Combine the two and you have carnosine, which improves muscles and allows them to go beyond their pain threshold.
But carnosine production decreases with age, according to Mark Ledoux, CEO of Natural Alternatives International. The result is not just a decrease in muscle mass but age-related deterioration in a number of functions.
Natural Alternatives developed Carnosyn to deliver beta alanine optimized for combination with your body's own histidine to form carnosine. Ledoux claims it's a fountain of youth, improving not only muscle function but brain health, heart-health, bone health and a chelating effect that removes heavy metals. Ledoux sees applications in gummies, beverage powders, ready-to-drink beverages and extruded bars.
Pronativ: There's no shortage of whey in this country nor whey protein ingredients (isolate, concentrate, permeate). But all of it begins as a waste product, a byproduct of cheese and yogurt production.
With some of the world's leading cheese brands (President, Rondele, Sorrento), Lactalis has been making tons of whey. But the company recently developed Pronativ "native whey protein" as a primary product, not a byproduct, with a cold filtration product that optimizes some beneficial ingredients that should be found in whey but often are removed in the production of primary dairy products.
"It has a complete amino acid profile," says Dan Mackenzie-Olson, Lactalis American Group's regional sales manager. "It's purer, more digestible, with 17% more bioavailable leucine," plus naturally occurring antioxidants and minerals that are filtered out in typical whey protein production.
The greater amount of leucine triggers muscle recovery and repair process and helps prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss in seniors).
Sacha Inchi: This is humbly "the most powerful super seed in the Amazon," according to Amazon Health Products which has commercialized it as Starseed. The Peru-based company claims it's "tasty, clean, versatile, stable, net carb zero, fat & antioxidant fueled, paleo friendly, protein rich, amino acid ideal and grain free."
And it contains more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, plus healthy fats, antioxidants, complete protein and fiber. It's one of those novel ingredients "for any manufacturer seeking to develop unique offerings to meet the growing demand for plant-based nutrition." Starseed comes in oil, protein powder, butter, fat powder, fat+protein butter and seeds.