POWDERING WELLNESS February 7, 2022
Essential oils in powder form open up new product opportunities
Constant innovation is the new normal when it comes to the essential oils industry. Companies are spending a lot of time and resources in research to present sustainable, purer, and unique products to the consumer. On this journey, the latest traveller to join the essential oils bandwagon is not liquid, but powder.
After years of research, trials, and tests, several companies are producing essential oils in powder form. These oils are being lapped up by nutraceuticals, health and wellness, and food industries. Companies producing cosmetics, food, and health ingredients have all reacted positively to the essential oils powder range. One of the major advantages of powder form is shelf life. Products in powdered form are easy to handle and last longer. Working with liquid essential oils is cumbersome, since it requires the usage of protective clothing. Powered essential oils carry all the benefits sans the complexities.
THE CONVERSION PROCESS
When it comes to actual production of powder essential oils, there are several challenges that researchers have overcome. For starters, technologies being developed to change the state of essential oils need to provide protection from oxidative decomposition and evaporation. This is where encapsulation technology comes into play. It protects the overall profile of the essential oil. A natural encapsulation tech, called Natur-Cell has been developed by a French company to perfect the conversion process. It is used to convert oil to powder form via entirely natural means. Inulin is used as a matrix in this case to protect the original profile of essential oils, and consequently turn it into powder. Inulin is a soluble prebiotic fibre. It acts in the capacity of an active carrier and possesses digestive benefits. At times, the entire process ends up increasing the potential health benefits associated with essential oils. This in turn augments their applications. When we talk about actual quantities, largely it has been witnessed a tonne of oil produces approximately 150 kilograms of powder.
JOINING HANDS WITH NUTRACEUTICALS
The countless benefits of essential oils in powder form have piqued the interest of numerous industries, but the most notable one is nutraceuticals. When you amalgamate nutrition and pharmaceuticals, the resulting compound is nutraceuticals. These are products used for the dual purpose of providing nutrition, and as medicines. Their nutritional, safety, and therapeutic benefits make them extremely popular in the market. They possess psychological benefits and provide protection from chronic diseases. In fact, several studies have shown positive impact of nutraceuticals in treating conditions such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders. These conditions give rise to alterations in the redox state. This refers to changes in the body’s oxidation levels. Nutraceuticals with their antioxidant ability counteract the changes, making them effective in preventing life threatening conditions. Nutraceuticals are sold worldwide in medicinal form, isolated from foods. Unlike pharmaceuticals, patent protection is not an issue with nutraceuticals. Some of the popular products include ginseng, echinacea, green tea, omega-3, and folic acid.
Essential oils in powder form have come as a huge boost to the nutraceutical industry. This development has potentially opened the market for a range of new products. Companies are working to introduce natural product ranges to address issues like digestion, immunity, and relaxation. Some of the products being tried by companies in this space include a combination of essential oils and plant extracts. These are easy to use and are proven to have a deeper impact on curing illness and aiding in the process of mental calmness.
The beauty industry has got their hands full as well. One of the blends is believed to work wonders on cellulite and circulation. Skin hydration and wrinkle reduction can be achieved with a combination of a lipowheat and a rare citrus essential oil from Sicily.
Globally, there has been a strong push towards essential oils for their health and wellness benefits. In fact, according to research published a while ago, the market for essential oils is expected to jump to $27.5 billion by 2022. This is an approximate 55% rise in 5 years. France is one of the countries that strongly believes in the health benefits of essential oils, and has recommended their oral consumption.
A HEALTHY DROP FOR FUNCTIONAL FOODS AND BEVERAGES
Another industry largely expected to benefit from powder essential oils is functional foods and beverages. These products have caught the fantasy of the health conscious in recent times. Nutritionally superior, functional foods and beverages possess biologically active compounds. One of the biggest concerns with functional foods is their packaging and storage. Microbial spoilage, and risk of food-borne infections is a real concern. This is where essential oils come into the picture. Various studies have indicated the advantages of producing functional foods with essential oils. Essential oils possess superior antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-carcinogenic properties. With the consumer’s push towards natural products, essential oils are the perfect additive to preserve functional foods. Their shelf life can be greatly augmented courtesy the use of essential oils for antimicrobial packaging. With the innovation of essential oils in powder form, their solubility increases exponentially, thus eliminating the task of specifically formulating essential oils into nanoparticles to increase stability and solubility. The future of functional foods and beverages is secure with powdered essential oils for company.
THE REGULATORY PUSH
Powdered essential oils have received a tremendous response in the market. Regulatory changes have had a huge role to play in this market perception. It was only in December 2018 that essential oils were considered safe for oral consumption. Studies were undertaken at massive levels, across the globe to prove the safety of essential oils. The green signal by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has come as a major support to the essential oils industry. In fact, there are several countries where scientific proof and regulatory clearances are mandatory. Thus, the support of a regulatory body has made essential oils acceptable on a global scale. Europe is in fact leading the queue when it comes to perception change. Essential oils are now much more than regulars in aromatherapy. Research and innovation have infused new life into the essential oils industry. For a long time essential oils have been considered partners in aromatherapy treatments to aid in the process of stress relief and relaxation. Now nutraceuticals and functional foods and the beverage industry are some of the biggest enthusiasts of powdered essential oils. A new dawn is here with oral consumption of essential oils for a healthier lifestyle.