"Bilberry is a standardised extract containing a minimum of 25% anthocyanins which has established itself globally in the food supplement market for many decades now," said a spokeswoman for the business. "According to our knowledge, it is an excellent source of anthocyanins [powerful antioxidants that protect against cell damage]. The demand for this natural extract will grow in this market in the next few years.
"Symrise, as a leading flavours and fragrances house with its core competency in flavour and food applications, finds that great efforts need to be taken to include the active bilberry extract into a wide range of food applications ...
"We consider that action must follow here to drive the growth of bilberry extract in the coming years above average to make this well-known but somewhat antiquated active ingredient look like a superfruit in the future."
Symrise will spearhead this promotion of bilberry, which studies suggest supports eye, gastro-intestinal and blood vessel health, under the auspices of its Actiplants brand.
"Botanical extracts such as our Actiplants are, according to our opinion, the next step on the way towards a daily healthy diet and the next step towards lasting health protection."
A portfolio of extracts will be marketed under the brand, which uses a patented cold extraction process known as SymTrap to preserve beneficial fruit and vegetable components. Symrise has built a SymTrap plant at its Hamburg facility.
"We see plenty of potential for polyphenols/anthocyanins combined with our patented Symrise technologies," the Symrise representative told Food Manufacture.
"With costs for health care systems rising in the industrialised world, we believe prevention [of disease] in particular by using botanical extracts will see another boom."
The use of botanical extracts as an aid to health and disease prevention was widely prevalent in Asia and Symrise said this trend would grow within Brazil, Russia and India too.
Several varieties of berries offered strong growth opportunities. "We would like to emphasise extracts from red and blue berries, which offer, because of their high contents in anthocyanins, high antioxidant potential.
"Every anthocyanin has properties, which may be very important for the prevention and treatment of valid diseases. Symrise has the competency to offer these extracts not just as a health benefit, but to also make them taste good."