Now available in the EU and US, Ahiflower oil is unique among plant-based omega-3-6-9 dietary oils, because it combines the highest-available omega-3 stearidonic acid (SDA) with beneficial levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) in a clean-tasting, sustainable and fully traceable product.
Being sold incorporated into capsules, as a liquid oil or even now in chocolate truffles, Ahiflower oil is derived from the plant buglossoides arvensis and has a neutral flavour and aroma compared with other omega-rich oils like flax, fish, krill, and algal oils; and has been shown in trials to have up to four times the EPA conversion benefit versus traditional flaxseed oil.
“The high level of omega-3 content of the Ahiflower has been known for many years, but the plant was only available as a wild plant until we developed it as a commercial crop,” explained Natures Crops International Ahiflower vice president for strategic initiatives Greg Cumberford, who confirmed that it took over 12 years for Natures Crops International to develop a crop that displayed sufficiently repeatable and reproducible outcomes for commercial growers.
Ahiflower is now exclusively grown and harvested by Natures Crops International’s network of growers in the UK, and then processed at Natures Crops International’s refinery in Canada, from where it is supplied as refined oil for further processing.
One recent finished product to feature Ahiflower in its healthy list of ingredients is UliMana ChocolateTruffles in the US. The company specialises in producing healthy truffles made from raw chocolate and organic ingredients. It prides itself on creating its new Oh! Mega 3 Truffles with the omega-3 benefits of Ahiflower oil plus the prevailing attributes of being Fairtrade, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, certified organic and with no processed sugars.
“Oh! Mega 3 Truffles are both delicious and healthy,” said Cumberford. “The truffles highlight Ahiflower oil’s versatility in applications one would never be able to achieve with fish or algal oils (due to sensory challenges). The flavour of Ahiflower is just slightly ‘planty’ yet it contains over 90% omega fatty acids.”
Tonya Bennert bought UliMana in 2015 and, drawing on her extensive experience working with healthy product-based companies, has been perfecting an existing formulation for the healthy Oh! Mega 3 Truffles ready for relaunch during 2016. The individual truffles have an ingredients list featuring organic cacao powder, organic cacao butter, organic coconut nectar, Ahiflower seed oil, organic flax seeds, organic chia seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic cinnamon, organic turmeric, organic ginger, Celtic sea salt and organic vanilla.
“Oh! Mega 3 Truffles offer consumers powerful health properties and their eyes light up when they taste them, because despite being low glycaemic and sweetened with an organic, low-glycaemic sweetener – coconut nectar – instead of sugar, they taste incredible,” said Bennert, who explained that each 0.4oz truffle has 50 calories and is considered as an individual, fulfilling serving – although consumers can eat as many as they like. “Our truffles are not like commercial milk- and sugar-laden chocolates that stimulate a craving for more. Instead, they are nutrient dense and very satisfying.”
Other Ahiflower food products in the pipeline from end user brands include salad oils, an RTD fruit smoothie, and a fortified non-dairy milk beverage.
“Confectionery lozenges, gummies, and gel tabs are also non-pill forms through which Ahiflower oil will no doubt proliferate. All foods, beverages, and supplements are commercialised only through licensed co-branding partners, with Natures Crops International retaining responsibility for the farming, production, refining, and sale of bulk Ahiflower oil globally,” said Cumberford.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019