Tapping into the raspberry ketone market

Shaun Weston28 Feb 2012

Tom Richardson co-wrote the book 'Business is a Contact Sport' and co-owns Top Secret Nutrition, and has recently tapped into the raspberry ketone market. Rebecca Prescott talks to him about the technical process of using the ingredient in the food and beverage industry.

Raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that's the primary aroma compound of red raspberries. They contain many bioactive elements known to increase thermogenesis and the utilisation of fat as energy, but what are the opportunities for the ingredient in the food and beverage industry?

Raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that's the primary aroma compound of red raspberries. Can you explain how this is beneficial to the food and/or beverage industry?

Tom Richardson: The benefits of raspberry ketone are to the nutritional supplement industry. There could be some future benefit to the functional drink industry. Raspberry ketones are an effective way to increase a person's metabolism without any known side effects. Since it comes from the raspberry, it also has a pleasant flavour.

Is it true that it's one of the most expensive natural flavour components used in the food industry? If so, why, and why did you think it was important to include it in your products?

Richardson: It can be made synthetically at a much reduced cost. It's an expensive ingredient. It takes a lot of raspberries to extract the needed amount of ketones (100mg per day on most tests.) The ingredient is worth its price for the nutritional supplements industry, because, as mentioned before, it's effective and safe.

The natural compound has been awarded GRAS status. How difficult is it to find a functional ingredient that has the necessary scientific backing to support health claims that are being used to promote products so heavily?

Richardson: Obtaining GRAS status is difficult. Many of the studies are on animals or in the lab. Clinical research and a thorough understanding of biochemistry is required to 'connect the dots' between theory and applicability when it comes to humans.

What do you believe to be the most exciting trend occurring in the health supplement/food/beverage industry, and how do you think competing companies will step up to cater for the ever-changing demand in this sector?

Richardson: The advances in weight management supplementation are without a doubt on the top of the list. Obesity is a prevalent and serious issue, and not only in the US. Obesity seems to accompany progress: (Brazil, with increasing prosperity, just moved into second place).

Obesity carries with it a hefty healthcare price tag. It's hard to find someone who isn't trying to lose or control his or her weight. A lot of money is being spent in research to address this problem.

Top Secret Nutrition is at the cusp of the topic's learning curve. There are other ingredients such as L-carnitine, white bean extract and so on that are very valuable, even more so in combinations.

Rebecca is editorial assistant of FoodBev.com