AFS - Applied Food Sciences, Inc
Energy + Focus

AmaTea® Max

organic guayusa extract


organic caffeine


organic caffeine


green coffee extract

Functional Flavor


organic ginger extract


organic turmeric extract

Plant Protein


organic hemp seed protein

Nutritional Actives


organic vitamin C


green coffee extract


potassium d-glucarate

Functional Mushrooms

Nordic Mushrooms

organic mushroom extracts

Ingredient Technology


organic microbeadlet curcumin




Five Functional Ingredients that Stand Out on the Shelf

Sep 2, 2021

•  6 minutes to read

What draws people to certain products over others? Brands only have seconds to grab a consumer’s attention on the shelf, and added functionalities only help influence their purchasing decisions. Consumers want to thrive with the products they love, and as a result, just about every food group is trying to enhance what it brings to the market. Supporting this trend, ingredient innovator Applied Food Sciences (AFS) is developing functional ingredients with this goal in mind. Here are the five most popular functional trends helping new products succeed in 2021 and beyond.

Mental Energy Hits Different

The average U.S. consumer will have around 220 mg of caffeine per day [i]. But conventional forms of caffeine can have unwanted side effects that make it hard to sit still and focus. For example, caffeine stimulates the release of epinephrine (better known as adrenaline) in the body which can produce a similar experience as our “fight or flight” response [ii]. While the sudden feelings of excitement, muscle tremors, or accelerated heartbeat may be helpful in life-threatening situations, those similar jittery sensations are not beneficial when crushing a work project, studying for a midterm, or during a gaming session. 

Solution: AmaTea® Max organic guayusa extract – mental energy for focus at work, sports, and gaming. Guayusa is an Amazonian tea with a unique blend of caffeine and antioxidants. Current studies on AmaTea® Max organic guayusa extract show that this ingredient stimulates a significantly lower increase in epinephrine than other caffeine forms, including synthetic caffeine anhydrous [ii]. Want to try AmaTea® in your next product formula? 

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Boosting Organic Vitamin C

It may come as a surprise that most vitamins are synthetically derived. Strange considering we are in a time in the U.S. where organic sales are ascending to new heights year over year, surpassing $62 billion in sales in 2020 [v]. Yet, vitamins are one of the last ingredient segments to align with this trend. While more than 70 fruits and vegetables contain nutritious levels of vitamin C that can contribute to a healthy diet, many of these natural sources are not potent enough nor stable enough to use as a supplemental active ingredient. With ingredient discovery and new extraction techniques, AFS has been working to develop a suite of vitamin C extracts from nature. 

Solution: PurC® organic vitamin C – a water-soluble acerola extract standardized to 25% vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Acerola is one of the highest concentrations of natural vitamin C on the planet containing 70 times more vitamin C than other fruits and vegetables by weight [vi]. Meaning a little of our water-soluble 25% vitamin C extract packs a healthy punch. This innovative ingredient adds a deliciously light tart flavor with a hint of sweetness to beverages, gummies, foods, and supplements. Try a sample for your next formulation and boost your organic vitamin C with PurC®. Available in Natural and Organic.

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Plant Protein: The Real Opportunity in Hemp

Grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew 27% in the past year, reaching $7 billion in revenue [iii]. Perhaps a more compelling opportunity that arises is when you bring hemp into the fold. Think: by 2030, the licensed acreage to grow hemp expects to increase to over 9M acres and experts predict nearly 80% of the future hemp allocation will go towards grains (for plant-based protein), not CBD [iv]. Hemp seeds contain more protein wt/wt than almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. They also have impressive emulsification & gelling properties helpful for the booming alternative meats category. 

“When it comes to hemp protein, sensory characteristics have been the main impediment to its adoption in the market thus far,” reports Jackson Zapp, VP of innovation at Applied Food Sciences (AFS). “We wanted to create something that was food-driven, so taste was paramount. For hemp seed protein, this means removing the outer shell and its green particulates with state-of-the-art color sorting technology to present a clean ingredient that is white instead of green and is void of bitter flavor typically associated with hemp protein.”

Solution: PurHP-75™ organic hemp seed protein – a new plant protein standardized to 75% protein, complete with all nine essential amino acids. The quality of protein in PurHP-75™ is considerably higher in purity than other hemp ingredients due to the latest advancements in dehulling and color sorting technology. The result is a near-white fluffy powder with a deliciously creamy texture, zero odor, and a neutral taste profile.

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Detox: Beauty from Within

Don’t sleep on the liver’s role in supporting our overall health and appearance. It is an underrated aspect of nutribeauty, a market valued at $1.2 billion in 2019 [vii]. One of the primary functions of our liver is to filter and eliminate toxins from our bodies, but without the proper support for liver health, environmental toxins and hormones can build up in our bodies and impact our skin, hair, and nails. Many consumers are aware of the dangers from preservatives, plastics, and the many other environmental chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis [viii].

Solution: Preventium® D-Glucarate – a powerful phytonutrient that helps remove harmful toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens from the body. This potent extract for cellular detoxification is thoroughly-studied and one of the more well renowned ingredients for liver health. Other substantial health benefits include balancing hormones and reducing the adverse effects of alcohol ingestion. 

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The Power of Antioxidants

One of the most prevalent functional claims being added to labels today is antioxidants. From 2015 to 2019, markets observed a 5.7% increase in product launches with antioxidant claims [ix]. Many natural products already contain trace amounts of these beneficial compounds, but brands are looking to fortify their products with additional sources of antioxidants. Some of the most highly bioavailable antioxidants are chlorogenic acids from green (unroasted) coffee beans. 

Solution: GCA® green coffee extract – a high-quality, fully soluble antioxidant powder that is standardized to 50% chlorogenic acids. Green coffee extract is a perfect solution for food, beverage, and supplement manufacturers to add antioxidants to their labels.

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[i] Fredholm, B. , Battig, K. , Holmen, J. , Nehlig, A. & Zvartau, E. Actions of Caffeine in the Brain with Special Reference to Factors That Contribute to Its Widespread Use. Pharmacol. Rev. 51, 83–133 (1999).

[ii] Krieger DR, Kalman DS, Feldman S, et al. The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Nervous System Effects of Two Natural Sources of Caffeine in Healthy Adult Males. Clin Transl Sci. 2016;9(5):246-251. doi:10.1111/cts.12403

[iii] SPINS retail sales data, April 6, 2021. 

[iv] Whitney Economics – Déjà vu: An Economic Survey of the United States Hemp Cultivation Industry

[v] McNeil, Maggie. Organic Trade Association survey says swing to home cooking in pandemic ignited sales. May 2021.

[vi] Morton J. Barbados Cherry. In: Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami: Julia F. Morton. 1987;204-207. Available at: Accessed August 19, 2014.

[vii] Nutrition Business Journal. Unlocking True Beauty from the Inside Out. Nutricosmetics gain traction in the U.S. 2021

[viii] Doll R., Peto R. The cause of cancer. Quantitative estimates of available risks of cancer in the United States today. J Natl Canc Inst, 1981; 66:1192-1308.

[ix] Wright, Becky. Antioxidants in 2020: Their next phase of growth. July 9, 2020.

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