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Robby Gardner is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles, specializing in fresh produce and health food ingredients.
Ingredients, dietary supplements, and functional foods and beverages from Israel.
The wonders of Israeli culture extend far beyond the basics-date fruit, hummus, and religious tourism-into a vast industry of budding biotechs and advancing nutrition.
Serving a global market, Israel’s nutrition industry has advances all its own, and with unique distinctions. Limited access to oil, for example, has Israeli companies embracing solar energy on impressive levels.
It is without dismay, then, that I agreed to visit this country under the invitation of the Israeli Export Institute. I was to meet with a handful of companies with the brightest and boldest ideas for a global nutrition industry.
Company: Novel Creation Ltd.
Location: Neve Yarak
For consumers already committed to a long list of daily dietary supplements, Novel Creation’s Novel Care line of liquid dietary supplements can shed the monotony and common difficulty of swallowing pills. Launched in April, this “largest line of liquid supplements” includes 10 products, ranging from high-end curcumin and astaxanthin options to low-end options like calcium and iron-all sweetened for taste.
Each product is marketed as “Maximum” to drive the argument that liquid supplements can be better absorbed than pills. The company is currently collaborating with researchers at the University of Beer Sheva to determine any differences between absorption of astaxanthin in powder and liquid form. The liquid supplements are available in 30-serving bottles at 190 locations in Israel.
Company: Nutrinia Ltd.
Location: Yokneam Illit
Replicating the health benefits of human breast milk is an ongoing project for the infant formula market, and Nutrinia is one biotech that could eventually bring the market a step closer-with insulin.
Published research indicates that human breast milk contains significantly higher amounts of insulin than cow’s milk, yet insulin levels in infant formulas are reported to be negligible, if not absent altogether.1 When infants have supplemented with insulin, results have included quicker maturation of the gastrointestinal tract and fewer days needed before full-term feeding.2
Nutrinia has pioneered search not only on insulin and infant health, but also on InsuMeal, the company’s patented process for delivering insulin in infant formulas. InsuMeal’s microencapsulation platform ensures that insulin remains active until bypassing the stomach and reaching its target location in the body. Efficacy studies continue around the globe.
Location: Airport City
An Israeli pioneer of value-added spring water, Neviot produces vitamin-enhanced waters under the Neviot+ brand. Each bottle provides moderate levels of B vitamins and calcium in a low-calorie format free of preservatives and colorants. The company recently launched Neviot+ Energy with caffeine, choline, sucrose, and fructose.
Neviot+ is currently available in five flavors-two of which can be purchased in the United States.
Company: Lin’s Farm
Location: Kfar Bilu
Addressing consumer preference for “natural” functional foods, this Israeli bee harvester has innovated a wide range of “healing hive products,” including specialized honey concentrates and honey-based energy gels, available for private label. The product range is called Beenergy.
Lin’s Farm offers honey concentrates-designed for before or after exercise-to be mixed into shakes, and four flavors of energy gels to provide before-and-during nourishment for sports activity. The gels are a source of carbohydrates, fructose, glucose, maltodextrin, and B vitamins.
Lin’s Farm also offers a creative line of condition-specific honeys blended with botanicals and other ingredients. Examples include Bee Flex (with glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and methylsulfonylmethane) and Bee Strong (with thyme, elderberry, Echinacea, ginger, and licorice).
Company: SupHerb Ltd.
If you’re looking for a certified-kosher soft gel or tablet, chances are this company has it.
As a leading Israeli supplement manufacturer, SupHerb carries an extensive line of population- and condition-specific supplements-oftentimes designed as a result of engagements with universities and medical practitioners.
Two of SupHerb’s more unique supplement lines are a bariatric line for post–weight loss surgery and a skin-health line addressing conditions ranging from acne and skin lesions to age spots and sun damage. Other SupHerb supplements include population-specific probiotics, essential fatty acid formulas, standardized herbal extracts, joint supplements, vitamins, minerals, and specialized lines for female care and children’s care during winter.
Herbamed has shifted focus from nutraceutical ingredient manufacturing to straight-to-consumer branded products, namely in two nutrition bars.
Herbamed’s two nutrition bar launches include a CoQ10 bar that uses a patented formulation for increased bioavailability (geared towards athletes and cyclists) and a citrus bar intended for cholesterol maintenance and based on a proprietary citrus ingredient.
Company: Algatechnologies Ltd.
Location: Kibbutz Ketura
Near the resort town of Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel, Algatechnologies benefits from sunshine almost every day of the year. That kind of sunshine is prime for production of astaxanthin, the marine carotenoid that makes salmon pink.
Astaxanthin science suggests numerous potential benefits, including improvements in skin health, exercise performance, and heart health.
Algatechnologies’s closed-system production is fully exposed to natural sunlight and can produce oleoresin, soft-gelatin capsules, beadlets, and powders. The company’s GRAS-approved astaxanthin is branded as Astapure.
Increased demand for astaxanthin, largely coming out of the United States, has left Algatechnologies with one logical decision to make: expand production. The company expects to increase astaxanthin production 80% by early next year.
Soy Gone Pharma
Company: Se-Cure Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Location: Airport City
Usually, our coverage of soy compounds falls squarely in the arena of dietary supplements. But, tucked inside of the Galilee wine region, one Israeli biotech has channeled a soy dietary supplement all the way to a future in pharmaceuticals.
Se-Cure’s most notable ingredient is Femarelle, a soy-derived botanical ingredient intended to improve menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, bone mineral density, and vaginal dryness.
The potential for Femarelle to be considered a drug, and cleared by FDA as such, stems from the ingredient’s active plant-based selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). SERMs are cited for their ability to target specific tissue sites, thus preventing potential for side effects elsewhere in the body.
Thanks to a proven safety record from years of supplement sales, the product appears to be getting shorter FDA clearance for use as a drug.
Company: IBR Ltd.
Location: Ramat Gan
Israeli Biotechnology Research (IBR) has steeped itself in the business of unique cosmetic ingredients with potential for antiaging, UV protection, and a range of other benefits.
For example, IBR-Phyto(flu)ene is the company’s complex of phytofluene and phytoene, two carotenoids derived from tomato which, because of a lower amount of double bonds, are colorless and therefore unable to stain the skin.
IBR says that unlike most antioxidants, colorless carotenoids can quench hydroxyl radicals, substances produced from the sun that can damage human DNA and skin. They can also inhibit melanin-a skin-lightening plus. Besides providing their own skin-health benefits, these colorless carotenoids can apparently stabilize other ingredients. For that reason, IBR says the ingredients can support the activity of various ingredients in sunscreens.
Another piece of IBR’s lineup is its line of dormins, compounds extracted from dormant plants. In much the same way as the ingredients induce dormancy in plants, they are believed to slow the aging process in humans by slowing rates of cell growth.
IBR ingredients are available as certified organic and free of parabens, phthalates, and alkylphenols.
Company: Anlit Ltd.
Location: Granot Industrial Area
I’ve tried enough gummy vitamins in my time with Nutritional Outlook to consider myself an expert in palatability. When I met with Anlit, a specialist in the production of bear-shaped, yogurt- and jelly-based supplements for kids, I could only hope that the company would have a handle on taste; fortunately, it did. (No wonder the company won a “Tastiest Finished Product” award at this year’s VitaFoods show).
Anlit is best known for its “Yomi” supplements, a brand of children’s supplements sold around the globe.
Ingredients that Anlit has managed to get inside of kids’ gummies include probiotics; Lactium, a milk-derived casein ingredient for stress reduction; prebiotic fibers; and all three major omega-3 fatty acids.
Anlit’s Yomi line is made up of chocolate, yogurt, and pectin-based gummy bears.
The company has a presence in children’s markets in Europe, the United States, and South Africa.
Company: Desert Labs
Location: Kibbutz Yotvata
Only in Israel and South Africa can you find a steady harvest of hoodia (Hoodia gordonii). In Israel’s Arava desert, it is marketed as the Ice Cube Diet.
According to Desert Labs, African bushmen would eat enough hoodia to go without eating for days. For us Westerners, it’s meant to curb the appetite by reducing frequent snacking. Desert Labs develops, manufactures, and markets the product. Hoodia is freeze-dried within 24 hours of harvest, and one cube contains 3000 mg of hoodia.
Hoodia’s weight-management support is believed to be at least partially attributed to P57, a glycoside that science suggests can send satiety signals to the brain.
In two in-house trials, Desert Labs’ hoodia product resulted in weight-management benefits like reduced waist lines, BMI, and weight compared to placebo.
The product is fair trade.
With over 250 customers in 50-plus countries, Solbar remains at the top of soy’s leaderboard and was well worth a visit in Israel. Situated at the Ashdod port (great for those bean imports), Solbar continues to improve on its soy offerings in the areas of protein, isoflavones, and soy-based commodities. Solbar’s newest weapon? Bontex: a steam-textured soy protein characterized by cleaner flavor and better water retention. Soy-associated off-flavors are said to be done away with thanks to high temperature.
The company netted nearly $90 million dollars last year in soy protein alone, but is still expanding. In a bid to continue its soy success, Solbar recently expanded to include a production facility in Nebraska. The facility currently specializes in organic production.
Company: LycoRed Ltd.
Location: Be’er Sheva
LycoRed continues to impress in the world of tomato-based carotenoids, with specialized ingredients like Lyc-O-Mato lycopene complex, containing phytofluene, phytoene, beta-carotene, and more. Tomato coloring can even satisfy the need for red colors without blue notes often attributed to carmine.
Beyond its recognition for tomato-based ingredients, LycoRed is a global purveyor of a great number of nutrients available for formulation in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages. Take LycoRed’s Capsudar line of microenpcapsulated vitamins, for example. The line has just been enriched to offer vitamin D3 for clear beverages.
LycoRed offers premixes, too-for a number of applications. A Tnuva-brand milk recently launched with vitamin D and calcium (double the national average), thanks to LycoRed.
Company: Frutarom Ltd.
With over 20 production sites throughout planet Earth, Frutarom is more than just an Israeli flavor and ingredient supplier. What sets this company aside from its competitors might very well be its focus on comprehensive food systems that provide ingredient concepts with suited flavors already built in. Frutarom focuses on clean-label concepts and has brought that into a number of intriguing product concepts of late: a functional cookie for bone health (featuring branded soy isoflavones and branded vitamin K2) and jetlag candies (featuring blackcurrant and a patented schisandra fruit extract).
One more unique innovation by Frutarom is its flavor waves concept-flavors that are experienced at different times during the eating process.
Location: Kibbutz Dorot
Israel’s largest supplier of garlic found something new to do with it: freeze it within an hour of being plucked, place it in plastic cube molds, and ship it to global customers for use whenever they please.
Since happening upon this little idea 11 years ago, Dorot has expanded to several other spices (including basil, parsley, and cilantro) and mixes like Tex-Mex and Stir Fry.
The company is fully owned by Kibbutz Dorot, the community in which the product is produced and manufactured.
1 N Shehadeh et al., “Importance of insulin content in infant diet: suggestion for a new infant formula,” Acta Paediatrica, vol. 90, no. 1 (January 2001): 93–95.
2 RJ Shulman, “Effect of enteral administration of insulin on intestinal development and feeding tolerance in preterm infants: a pilot study,” Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, vol. 86, no. 2 (March 2002): 131–133.