The Plantalin range includes extracts of aloe vera, ginseng, passion flower, guarana, lemon balm, green tea as well as a low caffeine green tea.
"Our target was to develop a limited range of trendy plant extracts forspecific use in the food industry with a clear focus on excellent watersolubility," Franz Timmermann, market segment manager at Cognis, told NutraIngredients.com.
The aloe vera product comes in the form of a water-dispersible gel while all the other extracts are supplied as water-soluble powders which can be readily incorporated into aqueous media at ambient temperatures.
The whole range, produced at Cognis facilities in Spain, is standardized and only extracted with water.
The extracts will meet continued strong demand for herbals in Europe's functional beverages sector, with sales predicted to rise by at least 1 million litres by 2008, according to Zenith data. Sports and energy drinks are among the fastest growing functional drinks, as are new tea varieties.
There is also considerable, untapped demand for healthier products for 'on-the-go' consumption. European sales of 'on-the-move' food and drinks reached €90,484 million in 2003, 43 per cent of which were accounted for by snacks, according to research firm Datamonitor.
Cognis, known for its plant sterol esters, conjugated linoleic acid, and tocopherols, joins a number of specialty chemical groups offering new plant extracts in recent months. Both DSM and Degussa have signalled strong interest in herbals that have the potential to target some of today's chronic diseases and appeal to the increasing interest in natural products.
Sales by the Cognis health and nutrition segment grew 8.9 per cent to €287 million over the year, with organic sales growth of 11 per cent, making it one of the group's best performing units.
Although Health & Nutrition is the group's smallest unit, generating less than 10 per cent of total turnover, it has the highest return on sales of all five business units at 14.7 per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent for the group's largest business, Care Chemicals.
It also had the highest spend on R&D during 2004, at 3 per cent of sales (€9 million), compared with just 1.8 per cent of sales in Care Chemicals.
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