FI Asia 2019
Curcuminoid power: Thai juice firm Tipco’s biotech arm aims for fast growth with new high grade ingredient
The firm is part of Tipco Foods, which is famous for its fruit juice sold under the same brand name and operating retail chains in Thailand.
With a focus in manufacturing raw ingredients, the firm has recently finished research on how harvesting turmeric for 14 months can achieve a higher yield of curcuminoid at 17.7%.
The firm claimed this is higher than both global and national standards. In other parts of Thailand, curcuminoids content can range from 5% in Nakhon Pathom to 10% at Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi, after a 12-month long breeding process.
The high yield curcuminoid powder was showcased at the Food Ingredients Asia show held in Bangkok in mid-September.
To achieve a higher content of curcuminoid, the firm engages turmeric farmers from Bantakhun, south of Thailand, as the area has the most optimal condition to grow turmeric, Anan Chaikitwattana, department manager of the firm’s Herb and Extract Business Development told NutraIngredients-Asia.
He said that research on increasing curcuminoid content started last year, in collaboration with local research parties – the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) and the Krisana Kraisintu Foundation.
The research found that harvesting turmeric at nine months in Bantakhun yielded a curcuminoid content of 10%, while harvesting it longer at 14 months rose the curcuminoid level to 17.7%
As the high grade turmeric requires a longer breeding period, to help farmers cope, the firm also accepts turmeric containing curcuminoid at 10% and between 10% and 15%.
These turmeric are harvested at the 9th or between the 9th to 12th month.
For high grade curcuminoid, its percentage levels in turmeric will need to exceed 15%.
Key revenue source?
The firm sees the high grade curcuminoid, which will hit the market next year, as a key revenue contributor.
“In the upcoming year, we expect this to contribute to 5% of the company’s entire revenue, and in the next three years, we aim that it can contribute 50% of the total revenue,” Chaikitwattana said.
In terms of application formats, he said that the curcuminoid powder could be used in herbal medicines.
The sale will be primarily focused within the domestic market, which he said was already familiar with using curcuminoid for alleviating flatulence problems.
Functional food ambitions
With experience dealing with natural fruits and plants ingredients for health purposes, the firm also has plans to establish a functional beverage end-product brand.
“Tipco is not only about selling fruit juice or doing retail, we see ourselves as a wellness brand…When we grow our own herbs, we also choose those that can best grow in Thailand, so we can get a higher yield of the bioactive content,” Chaikitwattana said.
Echoing the Thai government’s plan to promote Thai herb, the firm also launched an app which connects herb sellers with the buyers two years ago.
The app, known as “Herbify”, is undergoing a revamp and is expected to be relaunched before the end of this year.