Vitiva growth stems from new rosemary markets

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Slovenia's Vitiva has reported sales growth in excess of 200 per
cent for the first half the year, as it continues to implement its
rapid growth strategy and reach out into new business sectors.

The natural extracts supplier, which specialises in antioxidants derived from the herb rosemary, is a private company and therefore does not disclose full financial results.

But the reported 225 per cent sales growth for the first half of 2006 compared to the same period of 2006 - following on from 250 percent growth in the first quarter - is attributed to its strategy of organic growth in core business activities and geographic locations, with extending into new markets and applications.

Traditionally rosemary has been considered as a flavour. But it is also often used as an antioxidant, either to extend the shelf-life of foods or to make processed meat and edible oils healthier.

"We're continuing to propel Vitiva's business with breakthrough innovations and excellent in-market execution,"​ said Ohad Cohen, who took up the reigns as CEO last September and is seen as the dynamo behind much of the growth.

Investments are being made in developing new applications, said by Cohen to be "specific solutions for a completely new range of applications - ones that previously lacked rosemary extract".

Recent innovations include a highly concentrated form of the water-soluble antioxidant rosmarinic acid targeting dietary supplements, cosmeceuticals and food products, called AquaROX.

Produced with a concentration of anything between five and 70 percent, the company says AquaROX can be used in capsules, thus saving space or reducing the size of tablets.

Another is a line of deodorised rosemary extracts called Inolens, in which the bitterness of the herb is eliminated.

Cohen also said that the company is making progress in plant investments and cost reduction.

Beyond rosemary, in July Vitiva announced an upgrade of its manufacturing facility to meet the exacting standards of Bayer Pharma, with which it has entered into a collaboration over lutein esters from marigolds.

Cohen was unable to share with the precise application for which Bayer will use the esters, but he did say that it does not make use of its antioxidant properties for eye or skin health - common applications for lutein esters in nutraceuticals.

Moreover, nutraceutical customers using the ingredient for other applications are also expected to benefit from the streamlined operations.

Geographically, Vitiva has established new sales networks this year on both sides of the Atlantic. An alliance with UK firm Food Ingredient Technology (FIT) to market its rosemary extract line in the UK and Ireland.

FIT is particularly experienced in the processed meat and poultry industries. Recent research has indicated that rosemary may help stem flavour loss from minced meat when it goes through this high-pressure anti-microbial processing treatment.

But the alliance was also aimed at increasing penetration of the functional ingredients market.

In the US and Canada, the extracts have been represented by PL Thomas as of March of this year. At the tail end of 2005 deals were also secured for South America and Norway.

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