Marketing

Buencafé‘s new anti-oxidant rich soluble coffee

Coffee is not only one of the most popular beverages in the world, it is also one of the most closely analysed. From studies on how it is grown to how to get the best flavour in the cup, just about every aspect of the world’s favourite bean has been examined under a microscope at some point in time. It is this fascination with coffee and its many facets that has uncovered the exceptional qualities that the world’s second most traded commodity possesses. Recent research has shown that coffee contains high levels of chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that can benefit peoples’ health by fighting harmful free radicals in the body. This discovery has come at a time when a growing health consciousness has driven consumers around the world to look for what have come to be known as “functional foods” – food and drink that possess particular qualities that are known to be beneficial to health. Armed with this knowledge, Colombia’s Buencafé has developed a technology that led to the creation of a new product with five times the chlorogenic acids compared to a regular instant coffee. An initiative of the Colombian Coffee Grower’s Federation (FNC), Buencafé is one of the leading premium soluble coffee suppliers in the world. “We are the only [soluble coffee manufacturer] with a social orientation,” says Buencafé’s Director, Constanza Mejía. “Buencafé seeks to ensure that all those involved in their processes, from the coffee growers to the consumers, always receive the best of the best.” With this ethos underpinning all Buencafé’s work, Mejía says the decision to shift towards more health-oriented products in the coffee market was an easy signal for her company to follow. “This product was developed due to the alignment of several stars – Buencafé’s program for the development of functional products, which is the result of the internal acknowledgement of several trends in various markets, some general trends, and some related to coffee consumption,” Mejía says. “We see a trend of consciousness for consuming healthy foods and drinks. Not only products that are ‘not negative’ for your health, but with ‘positive’ beneficial effects. In other words, functional products: a trend in young consumers that prefer complex flavoursome preparations, frequently of refreshing beverages. This trend is taking over hot black coffee, which is more related to ageing consumers. There is a growing accumulation of evidence from serious medical studies that show the beneficial effects of coffee, particularly addressing the eternal desire of people everywhere to look young and slim.” As a result, Buencafé has developed a range of soluble coffees that contain particularly high levels of the antioxidants that are shown to help people to control their weight and reduce the signs of ageing. “After centuries of people drinking coffee almost all around the world, and after so many recent medical studies showing the health benefits of moderate [three to five cups per day] consumption of coffee, the idea was to increase the concentration of the best components in coffee in order to boost the benefits, while preserving the concentration of other components such as caffeine in the same range of regular products,” Mejía tells GCR Mag. In order to achieve this, Buencafé created a process for producing soluble coffee that naturally concentrates antioxidants without chemical extraction or addition of ingredients. Buencafé has long set itself apart as a technical leader in its industry, with one of the world’s largest and more technologically advanced freeze-dried coffee factories. The location produces coffee that is shipped to more than 60 countries. However, this level of product development was new territory for the company, Mejía says. “The strongest challenges were related to intellectual property, both to protect our research and to respect and avoid infringement of others’ rights related to similar products and processing technologies,” she says. “Additionally, functional product regulations are in a nebula between food regulations and drugs regulations, and vary widely from one country or region to another regarding what can be claimed when advertising the expected benefits when consuming functional products. Considering that our products are normally developed for many markets in different continents, a great deal of research has been required on these topics.” Mejía points out that while many reputed scientists have published the results of rigorous studies showing that coffee has many positive benefits, only indirect references to the benefits can be claimed in labels and advertising. “Coffee can help in controlling body weight through several mechanisms: while helping us stay alert, we will execute more activities and use additional energy; while reducing anxiety it may help in avoiding overeating; while reducing the absorption of glucose may help in absorbing less energy, besides, of course, reducing the incidence of diabetes,” says Carlos Osorio, Buencafé’s R&D Director. “On the other hand, the effect of antioxidants reduce the effect of free radicals and help slow the process of ageing and the development of degenerative disease.” The new product range is also a direct response to the changing tastes of the modern consumer.
Younger consumers are more likely to prefer more complex and varied coffee products, while the popularity of the traditional form of black coffee is waning as its main market – baby boomers and older – begin to leave the workforce. “The opportunity presented by the younger generation preferring more complex iced cappuccinos with the addition of flavours or vitamins to be consumed during indulgent relaxing moments suggest the development of products according to these preferences,” says Osorio. “Although the trend of being busy in a hurry and preferring convenient products continues, we see a trend of consumers that read the small writing on labels counting, not only calories but also the distribution of proteins, sugars, vitamins, and all sorts of ingredients; consumers that are aware that a large part of staying healthy is controlling very carefully what they eat and drink and are therefore looking for 100 per cent natural products.” To cater to this desire for variety and novel products, Buencafé has ensured that their new product range is extremely versatile, Osorio says. “The product itself is quite different from a standard instant coffee,” Osorio says. “The product can also be used as an ingredient to add antioxidant benefits to multiple preparations in bakery or confectionery goods. It is particularly good for coffee cool mix beverages where the rich antioxidants are powered by super fruits. A glass of such a delicious drink could have much more vitamin C than the equivalent of orange juice, plus all the benefits of the concentrated polyphenols in this coffee.” While the new range represents something of a departure for Buencafé, Mejía says the company has high hopes for it, and for the beneficial effects it can bring to consumers. “We have very high expectations from this product,” she says. “First of all, we do believe in the results of some very technical and carefully controlled studies that show the antioxidant and weight control properties of coffee. We have developed the technology to increase the concentration of the good antioxidants in this product, therefore we expect that the consumers will experience the reduced ageing and easier body weight control when consuming this product regularly for some time.” GCR

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