KiwiBerry Concentrate could be novelty fruit ingredient in Europe

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

US-based Effica has applied for authorisation to market a
concentrate produced from the hardy kiwi as a food ingredient in
Europe under novel foods legislation, which would pave the way for
it to be used in a variety of food products.

KiwiBerry Concentrate is derived from the Actinidia arguta​ fruit, also known as 'hardy kiwi fruit', which grows and is commonly consumed in northern China, Japan, Korea and Siberia. It is described as being "similar in taste"​ to the common kiwi fruit, but smaller and with a fuzzless skin. The market is ripe for ingredients that can differentiate food products, as manufacturers seek to give their wares an edge in the competitive marketplace. Effica envisages that its ingredient could be used in products such as beverages, cereals, milk, sugars, preserves, confectionery, savoury snacks. The ingredient could also help raise the healthy halo of foods, since consumers tend to associate fruit with a better health profile - as has been seen by the use of fruits like cranberry and pomegranate, billed as 'superfruits', in similar products. KiwiBerry Concentrate is produced by concentrating the hot water soluble components, then filtrating and evaporating them. The result is an ingredient in either liquid or powder concentrate form. "The production process has been shown to be tightly controlled and highly Reproducible,"​ said the company. ​ The ingredient is made up 70 per cent of carbohydrates, with less than 10 per cent protein and less than 10 per cent fat. It does contain vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, but the fibre levels are lower than in the fresh fruit since most are not water soluble. Some flavonoids are present in the concentrate, as in the fresh fruit, but levels of anthocyanins are much lower than in fresh fruit since they are not heat stable. The company says novel foods authorisation is required because the hardy kiwi fruit has not commonly been consumed in the EU - even though its cousin, the common kiwi, has. As to the toxicity of the concentrate, Effica says that safety is supported by the proportional composition of the concentrate to the fresh fruit - as well as similarity to the common kiwi. Some in vitro studies have also been conducted the likelihood of KiwiBerry Concentrate causing an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals, which could involve swelling of the lips and mouth and, in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock. The indication is that processing would 'denature potentially allergenic proteins'. Moreover, the company says: "Individuals with a known kiwi allergy can manage their condition by avoidance of kiwi. Since KiwiBerry Liquid and Powder Concentrates will be labelled as originating from hardy kiwi fruit, it is anticipated that individuals with kiwi allergy will avoid ingestion of these products."​ The UK's Food Standards Agency is accepting comments on Effica's novel foods application until July 30.

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