The marigold plant is native to Peru and it can produce oleoresin; a semi-solid paste which can act as a colouring, preservative or antioxidant and lutein; used as a functional ingredient for eye and skin health.
Dr Shiva Prashad, general manager at Olive Lifesciences, said that while the plant is native to Peru, leaders in cultivation can be found in India and China.
“Peru is not fulfilling the potential of the marigold,” Prashad told FoodNavigator-Asia.
But there is a lot of interest in extracts from the South American markets, especially Mexico, Peru, and Chile, he said.
Different extracts, different targets
Most of the demands from these markets are for oleoresin as a colouring for processed meat applications, he said, which is the company’s focus rather than its antioxidant or preservative functions.
Olive Lifesciences produces 80% oleoresin and 20% lutein. Its oleoresin extracts are available at strengths from 10-18% as the minimum strength requirement in most food applications is 10%.
In addition to South America, the Indian extract firm is also targeting Russia with oleoresin and is focused on the EU, US and Japan markets for its lutein product.
Olive Lifesciences cultivates its own marigold plants from its own seeds, Prashad said, and the plants are well-suited to the Indian climate. The firm works directly with farmers to ensure supply chain quality, he detailed, and has 6,000 acres dedicated to marigold cultivation.
The company’s current strength is coleus; an extract from a native Southeast Asian plant used for weight management in functional foods and dietary supplements. Its portfolio also includes turmeric, sesame and salacia.