Best of 2012 Ingredient Supplier: Axiom Foods

December 7, 2012

This brown rice specialist branched out into other sources of plant-based proteins, among other significant accomplishments this year.

Axiom Foods has grown at phenomenal rates: over 100% each year since CEO David Janow founded the company in 2005. The Los Angeles–based firm built its reputation as the world’s largest provider of whole-grain brown rice ingredients, offering an extensive range of protein concentrates, isolates, and rice fractions. Recently, it expanded its line to include other types of plant-based superfoods-and enjoyed many other significant accomplishments this year.

Although brown rice ingredients have been its stars, the company is developing new types of innovative plant-based protein ingredients. “We have been able to define and investigate new superfoods,” says Kay Abadee, Axiom’s director of marketing. Axiom’s first superfood protein source was introduced this year. Incatein is a protein powder derived from Sacha Inchi. It is naturally high in omega-3 and -6, minerals, and dietary fiber.

Last year, Axiom introduced what it says is the first-ever patented pea protein, VegOtein P. “It is high in lysine and arginine and is of particular interest to athletes who like blending it with other proteins to increase those particular amino acids,” Abadee says. “It is also of interest to people who don’t eat grains, by choice or for health reasons, or anyone with digestive issues.”

What’s next? Axiom has several new ingredient innovations in development, including a flax protein called FlaxOtein; an amaranth protein named Amarantein; and a quinoa protein, QuinOtein. “Each of these are rich in their whole form; thus we will be able to divide the fractions to offer fibers, starches, milks, etc.,” says Abadee.

Axiom also expects to launch a revolutionary, 100%-water-soluble rice protein. Abadee says rice is inherently a tough grain to work with, so keeping it natural was the biggest challenge. “This is still in development, and we don’t have a launch date yet. We have to make sure we have enough to meet the expected commercial demand.”

Axiom’s natural processing methods are another way the company stands apart. Janow explains that this was his commitment from the start. “We are dedicated to being one of the few hexane-free plant ingredient producers. From the beginning, we chose not to take the easier route, and we developed our own hexane-free, proprietary enzymatic process for extraction.” He says hexane is used for extracting fractions, such as oils and proteins, from whole foods. “Hexane is used by all soy protein manufacturers and multiple rice protein manufacturers for extraction, but in many applications, such as pharmaceutical, the use of hexane is being phased out due to its potential long-term toxicity. It’s a process we never considered using.”

Recently, Axiom set the stage for further growth, signing distribution deals with Break-Thru Nutrition of Canada and Nordic Food Partners A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Another recent accomplishment marks the start of a new strategy for the company: linking its ingredients to specific health benefits. The firm just completed its first clinical trial, in which 24 human subjects tested the efficacy of rice protein versus whey for athletic performance and recovery. Results are slated for publication by the end of the year. “We do not have the final results yet, but the preliminary results are indicating some exciting information,” says Janow.

“This will be the first of many clinical trials that we are planning,” he adds. “We anticipate completing two to three clinical trials per year moving forward, including looking at rice protein for weight loss, satiety, aiding absorption of vitamins, and much more.”

And perhaps one of Axiom’s shiniest achievements this year is the fact that its Oryzatein brown rice protein will soon be the basis of a monograph of the U.S. Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary-meaning that Axiom’s Oryzatein will be used as the USP monograph standard by which all other brown rice proteins are compared.

“We will continue to invest significantly-in money, time, and effort-in developing new technologies,” Janow concludes. “We will always let nature, and our customers, guide our direction.”