A previously obscure, nutrient-rich Indonesian nut is set to hit European shelves after winning EU novel foods approval that could also help protect under-threat kenari forests on the archipelago.
Kenari is primed for debut in the EU’s 27 member states after decades of use in mostly eastern and northern Indonesian islands but under a shadow as logging and mining activity threaten the very kenari forests from which the nuts are sourced.
The co-founders of the Indonesian firm Kawanasi Sehat Dasacatur, which lodged the just-approved EU submission in 2020, told Ingredients Network that aside from opening important European markets, the novel foods approval bolstered its intensifying lobbying of sector stakeholders and the Indonesian government to protect some kenari old growth forests.
“It is central to Kawanasi’s business core that we support the protection of the wild forest,” Felix Kusmanto and Debby Amalia King said ahead of a meeting this month with Indonesian government officials about expanding kenari tree preservation.
“The novel foods approval helps build our case for sure so we are very excited about what it means for protecting Indonesian kenari growth areas – and growing our business. It’s all about building the ‘kenari army’.”
With the global sports nutrition market worth something in the vicinity of €15 billion and personalized nutrition around €2-3bn, according to market analysts – the cross-over of personalized sports nutrition in 2021 is relatively niche.
Philipp Merk, co-founder and managing director at German personalized nutrition firm Loewi, says sports nutrition accounts for the biggest slice of his firm’s business – about 40% (immunity being the next biggest chunk).
Loewi was founded in early 2019 as a spin-off from a Technical University of Munich, Olympic athlete-focused personalized nutrition project. Its model feeds blood sample biomarker data and questionnaire responses through algorithms to make its mostly food supplement (but also food recommendations) that typically cost users about €75 a month.
“We have basically combined this super-laborious method with my background in data science and artificial intelligence to make it scalable,” Merk says. “So we have a blood test you do at home independent of a doctor and a database of over 15,000 medical studies.”
“We have thousands of interactions between nutrients, diseases, medications, allergies – really everything that is known – and this is also how we can make sure we are never harming any of our customers.”
Merk says Loewi’s ever-growing data set was driving evermore refined recommendations.
“We have algorithms calculating the individual dose for each nutrient and with each blood test that we conduct we use machine learning to build a mathematical model of their metabolism. We basically have a curve where we know which dosage we need to achieve which blood value. The cool thing is with each customer that comes through the system our model gets better and better. It’s like self-improving machinery.”
Sports nutrition firms and researchers are continually tweaking formulations to solve the perennial paradox of endurance sports: the fact the human gut can struggle to process the sugar load required to fuel efforts over multiple hours.
Gastro distresses bound across the endurance sports spectrum for this reason.
The likes of alginate hydrogels and shifts from the somewhat standardised 2:1 glucose to fructose ‘dual fuel’ ratio attempt to address the issue.