Throughout history, at least 7000 different species of plants have served as food for humans. As consumers crave more unique, healthy beverages and dietary supplements, their production rises by the day. It is estimated that by 2026, The Global Plant-based Beverages Market would be valued at $33.96 billion, with a yearly growth rate of 13.3% from 2017 – 2026. Therefore, now is a great time to invest in private label supplements or in a unique herbal-based beverage formulation that will stand out from the “average” product on the shelf.
Botanicals are fresh or dried plants, or plant parts that are isolated or mixed with chemicals, water, extracted in ethanol, essential oils, and other extracts that add flavor, fragrance, and medicinal benefits. Botanicals have been used for quite a long time in various ways. They've also been used as ingredients in beverage formulations. According to research, even Roman Empire gladiators ingested plant-based drinks to promote energy and healing that were produced from charred plants.
Why are botanicals increasing in popularity?
Most of the ingredients that trending in 2020 are setting the pace for further experimentations with plant ingredients. Consumers link botanicals with a more natural and traditional approach to good health and are increasingly searching for beverages and foods that contain nutritious ingredients. Turmeric and ginger-infused drinks netted over $200 million in sales, just last year.
The increasing demand for organic and clean label products also plays a role in the increasing popularity of botanicals. As beverage consumers continue to shy away from artificial colors and flavors, they become more open to beverages made with botanical ingredients. Beverage formulations with unique exotic herbal ingredients are therefore on the rise.
New exotic herbals
Because an ingredient is plant-based doesn’t mean that it should be used in the production of a beverage. FDA guidelines state that ingredients used for the production of beverages and foods should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Most botanical ingredients already have the GRAS seal and have been used for centuries. However, any ingredients not classified as GRAS must receive the FDA’s approval. A food ingredient may be classified as GRAS perhaps after scientific tests, or it may have been used as a food ingredient before 1958. It takes many years for a food producer to gather the necessary pieces of evidence needed by the FDA before its safety can be established.
Due to rampant cases of fraud and adulteration in natural ingredients, it is important to consider the source of the botanicals. Botanicals may be the plant raw material, the ingredient for manufacture, or the final product. Identification, tests, or regulation of the plant may be subject to change depending on its stage in the process.
You may reduce the risk of sourcing adulterated botanicals by choosing more popular ingredients that are branded and tested. Requesting for documentation of identity, quality test samples, agreement with third party specifications, may also help you verify the quality standards of the ingredient.
Sourcing quality botanicals may be difficult and time-consuming with little knowledge of the industry. We work with several botanical suppliers around the globe, ensuring only the highest quality of ingredients when you are looking to produce your private label supplements, foods or beverages.
Changes in formulation
Along with sourcing, formulating a beverage with botanicals has its challenges. Most botanical ingredients have unique flavors, color profiles, and textures that have great impacts on the end product. Another issue to be considered during formulation is solubility. You could buy water-soluble extracts, but not every ingredient has a ready-made extract. You should also be aware of the potential shelf-life of your botanical, final beverage or dietary supplement mixture. At Natural Powered Products, we ensure the highest quality ingredients and offer third-party shelf-stability testing services to make sure your product will taste awesome at production and the time it will sit on a shelf.
The future of botanical ingredients
As the demand for botanical ingredients increases, so does the need for improved technology and related expertise. Traceability and transparency of botanical products along with cheaper quality testing will lead the way in ensuring the customer the highest possible quality of ingredients in the market. Modern microencapsulating and dispersing techniques will also help make more botanicals go into your beverage formulation with ease. This is the best time to find your favorite botanical and bring your own private supplement, food or beverage idea to life.