The company says that more and more consumers are reading food labels to see what ingredients are contained and green tea strikes a chord with this increasing body of health conscious consumers as being good for them. Food companies are increasingly taking advantage of this perceived relationship between the properties of green teas and the consumer's desire for healthy natural ingredients. In the past, scientific data has linked green teas to a whole host of health benefits, from boosting blood vessel health, reducing the risk of colon and rectal cancer and protecting against Alzheimer's. Danisco director David Charest said: "This has food companies looking for consumer-friendly ingredients. [Consumers] want to have confidence in the products." The natural antioxidant properties of green tea are particularly effective for products highly susceptible to oxidation, including low-fat, trans-free products and foods with a high content of polyunsaturated fat, Danisco said. Under the name of Guardian Green Tea Extracts, the ingredient's key applications will include dressings, soups, sauces, meat, poultry and seafood products. It will be principally used as a flavour enhancer. The green tea extract is the latest in Danisco's "food protection family" of products which include a rosemary extract and other antioxidant products as ingredients. According to Mintel the UK saw sales of green tea increase by 222 per cent between 2002 and 2006, albeit from a small base of 4.8m to 15.5m in 2006. While the green tea extract has seen phenomenal growth, standard tea sales have slipped by some 16 per cent in the same period of time as consumes opt for healthier options. Mintel puts much of the success of green teas with consumers down to its health image. The February report on Tea and Herbal Tea notes: "They are rich in antioxidants, making them arguably the healthiest form of tea. They do contain caffeine, although they can be decaffeinated. Organic products are the most common in this sector, which enhances their health credentials." Danisco is not the first company to tune in to this growing trend. Already, Unilever has unveiled a catechin-rich green tea range and a partnership between Coca-Cola and Nestle has seen the launch of the green-tea rich drink Enviga.