Fortifying foods with polyphenols like green tea catechins is limited by the inherent bitter taste of the compounds. Talking to NutraIngredients-USA.com, Winston Samuels, CEO of Maxx Performance, said: “The challenge was how do we formulate with something so bitter?”
Using micro-encapsulation, the company has coated green tea extract with a thin, tasteless film of vegetable food-grade material. The resulting ingredient, available globally, provides a free-flowing darkish green powder for use in bakery products, nutrient bars, soft chews, and powdered mixes, said the company.
“We believe this is truly breakthrough for the industry,” said Samuels.
Samuels said that previous attempts by industry to mask the bitter taste of polyphenols focused on “expensive dairy products and other sweeteners”.
Pricing will be “based on the functionality required, but we are flexible”, he added.
The ingredient will enable bakery manufacturers to produce products with the associated health benefits of green tea without adversely affecting the flavor, said Samuels.
Previously studies have reported that green tea compounds, and most notably epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may offer protective effects against Alzheimer's and certain cancers, improve cardiovascular and oral health, and play a positive role in weight management.
Green tea contains between 30 and 40 per cent of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea (green tea that has been oxidized by fermentation) contains between 3 and 10 per cent. Oolong tea is semi-fermented tea and is somewhere between green and black tea.
Maxx’s ingredient is comprised of 46 percent EGCG, 98 percent total polyphenols, and 82 percent catechins. The ingredient does contain between 2 and 3 per cent caffeine, said Samuels.
Samuels added that distribution will be as direct as possible, thereby enabling a “good download of technical information” about the ingredient.
In addition to the improved taste profile of the finished product, Samuels said that the ingredient does not affect the texture. “The particle size is so small that there is no grittiness,” he said.