Functional ingredients have caught the attention of product developers in recent years. The "2005 Prepared Foods' R&D Trends Survey for Functional Foods and Beverages" reported that interest in dietary fiber and lycopene has increased by 55.8% and 32.9%, respectively.

LycoRed Natural Products Industries Ltd.'s Lyc-O-Mato® Powder caters to formulators who seek the functional qualities of both dietary fiber and lycopene. The benefits associated with this ingredient extend beyond its nutritional contribution.

The powder is produced from non-GMO, lycopene-rich tomatoes using a patented, solvent-free technique that results in the separation of tomato chromoplasts containing lycopene from the tomato fruit. The tomato pulp, rich with lycopene, is then spray-dried and processed into free-flowing granules that contain little sugar and are much less hygroscopic than tomato powder. The powder contains no additives and is labeled as "tomato fibers."?

Lyc-O-Mato Powder, containing five- to eightfold more lycopene than standard tomato powder, can be used to fortify a vast array of products due to the fact that it has very little flavor associated with it. Potential applications include nutritional bars, dairy products, processed meats, sauces and breads. The powder should be re-hydrated with water before being used in application because it can absorb water up to 20 times its weight; this helps regulate the texture and viscosity of the formulation and improves resistance to syneresis.

One of the ingredient's more distinctive benefits is its ability to function as a natural red colorant. Lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family, is the red pigment that gives the ripe tomato its bright red color. Since the powder is high in lycopene, its capacity as a colorant is 20 to 40 times more potent than that of tomato powder.

In terms of health benefits, it is lycopene's molecular structure that consists of a long chain of conjugated-double bonds that accounts for its ability to inactivate free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive toxic byproducts of the bio-chemical redox reactions that occur during normal cell metabolism and as a result of exposure to damaging environmental conditions. The oxidative damage caused by free radicals has been linked to several degenerative diseases and illnesses such as cancer, atherosclerosis and age-related macular degeneration.

In November 2005, the FDA approved the use of a qualified health claim for tomatoes and tomato sauce for their ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The label claim may be used on canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, but has not been approved for use on dietary supplements at this time. FDA's finding was not for any particular component of tomato, but based upon the benefit of tomato as a whole. Lyc-O-Mato Powder, like the tomato, naturally contains a host of antioxidant phytonutrients that work in synergy to deliver benefits to prostate, heart and skin. A suggested dietary intake of lycopene as a line of defense against free radicals is 5mg to 10mg per day.

It is a versatile ingredient that is not only an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, but is rich in fiber as well. The ingredient is both user and consumer friendly and presents product developers with a means of adding value through nutritional fortification. Its ability to serve as a natural colorant has food formulators throughout North America seeing red!

For more information:
LycoRed Corp.,
Beer Sheva, Israel
Leo R. Cullen  877-592-6733