Why Ashwagandha Root is Perfect for Foods & Beverages

Will Kreznick

Ashwagandha Root Extract is, by its nature, a perfect herb for gastronomic delivery. Here’s why you can look beyond the realm of pills.​​ From beauty-enhancing foods to antioxidant-rich breakfasts, mood-boosting snacks to focus-improvement drinks, the functional food and beverage market is a sizzling market with spectacular growth predicted. The global functional […]

Ashwagandha Root Extract is, by its nature, a perfect herb for gastronomic delivery. Here’s why you can look beyond the realm of pills.

From beauty-enhancing foods to antioxidant-rich breakfasts, mood-boosting snacks to focus-improvement drinks, the functional food and beverage market is a sizzling market with spectacular growth predicted. The global functional foods market size was estimated at $161.49 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $275.77 billion by 2025, achieving a CAGR of 7.9% during the forecast period.1

Growing consumer interest in a healthy diet has led to a thriving food and beverage market and the trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Increasing demand for nutritional and fortifying food additives (i.e., scientifically proven natural ingredients such as ashwagandha root extract) is anticipated to drive the growth.

The factors contributing to the growth include increasing prevalence of chronic diseases due to hectic lifestyle and increasing awareness among consumers regarding health benefits of functional foods. More health-aware customers are seeking healthy options in non-pill formats that fit an almost nonstop lifestyle. Gone are the days when people used to prefer capsules and tablets for their wellbeing.

Ashwagandha Root, the most revered herb of Ayurveda, checks all these boxes.

Not all the same

Even though Ashwagandha is gaining recognition globally, not all the Ashwagandha extracts are palatable and with desirable organoleptic properties required for use in foods and beverages.

KSM-66, a clinically proven Ashwagandha root extract, brings a perfect amalgamation of nutritional value and health benefits to the table, desk or tumbler. It is a branded, full-spectrum root extract with the highest concentration of key actives among all the ashwagandha root extracts available on the market today. It is made using a unique “green” extraction process that uses no alcohol or any chemical solvent: Therefore, it is one of the world’s few truly clean Ashwagandha root extracts for today’s discerning consumers.

As herbal supplements are moving out of the medicine cabinet and into the refrigerator/ on kitchen shelves, KSM-66 hits the “sweet-spot” for formulators because:

  1. KSM-66 is a self-affirmed GRAS ingredient based on a critical evaluation and acceptance of an independent expert panel.
  2. KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root has been clinically proven in human studies to help reduce stress, anxiety, cortisol levels, and stress-related food cravings; enhance memory and cognition, increase endurance, strength, muscle size, and muscle recovery rate; and improve sexual function in men and women, and testosterone in men.
  3. KSM-66 is palatable with superior organoleptic properties. The prime factor to success of any functional food is taste. KSM-66 extract is taste-neutral, so it is an excellent choice for use in a wide variety of food and beverages.  In fact, this is proven: During a sensory evaluation, KSM-66 was found to be the least bitter with neutral taste, when compared to hydro-alcoholic extracts and raw powder of ashwagandha (which were extremely bitter).
  4. KSM-66 is sufficiently soluble in water, making it an excellent choice for use in functional beverages and health drinks. KSM-66 is a free flowing, non-hygroscopic extract, which facilitates manufacturing of food products and ensures their stability. KSM-66 is highly stable with respect to heat; it is heat-stable at higher temperatures of up to 180ºC.

The world’s most certified Organic Ashwagandha Root Extract

KSM-66 and its manufacturing have successfully passed the most extensive inspections and safety assessments in our industry and have earned almost all the reputed and globally accepted quality certificates. It is Organic certified by USDA, EU, Canada and India and has more than 36 quality certifications to its credit. The food safety and quality certifications include FSMA-FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification Program), GRAS, GFSI (FSSC 22000, BRC, SQF, HACCP), Non-GMO Project Verification, Gluten-Free, Halal, Kosher, Certified R.A.W, Certified C.L.E.A.N., BSCG Certified Drug-Free, Vegecert, and Glyphosate Residue Free.

These certifications demonstrate that KSM-66® is safe for nearly all sensitivities experienced by people throughout the globe. Also, as more consumers are demanding organic supplements and ingredients, organic certifications are required to be competitive in the long term.

Say “NO” to the usage of Leaves and Hydro-alcoholic extracts in Ashwagandha

The vast majority of ashwagandha extracts on the market use hydro-alcoholic extraction, resulting in the loss of certain components of the raw root, and the resulting material is less beneficial than the full-spectrum extract like KSM-66. There are also a few ashwagandha extracts that uses ashwagandha leaves during extraction. Both the usage of leaves and hydro-alcoholic extraction results in an extract that is bitter and needs additives to mask the taste when used in foods. In contrast, KSM-66 has a neutral taste and can be incorporated more readily into foods. Besides, there are various other reasons​ why the Usage of leaves in ashwagandha extracts should be avoided.

How KSM-66 is used in various functional food and beverages

The versatility of KSM-66 allows it to be used across multiple product formats across the functional food and beverage category. From chocolate bars to energy drinks to veggie burgers, Ashwagandha root is making its way into myriad consumables. 

The two advantages (neutral taste, and full-spectrum composition that forms the basis of its clinical superiority) are among the primary reasons cited by numerous makers of functional foods and beverages to put KSM-66 into their products.

Here are a few exciting examples of how KSM-66 is nourishing global food and beverage hemisphere:

Gummies: Goli Ashwa Gummies​, Walmart Spring Valley Stress Support Gummies

Teas, coffees and milk alternatives:  REBBL Ashwagandha Chai​, BeautyGourmet Sparking Tea​, OutbreakNutrition Coffee​, DrinkKoia Oatmilk​, Taika Oat Milk Latte​, Taika Black Coffee​, Taika Macadamia Latte​, Drink Dash Cold Brew Coffee​, Spice Pharm Golden Goddess Ashwagandha Instant Tea

Energy Beverages: Magicmind Productivity Drink​,  Beyondrg Energy Drink​, Sattva Energy Tonic​, Livpur Energy​, Elevated Happiness Beverage

Juices: Aura Cold Pressed Juice​, Drinkelement Functional Vitamin Water

Snacks: Resilient Nutrition Butter Spread​, Empowered Bakery Bites​, Purely Elizabeth Granola​, GoodSeed Burger

Confections: Further Fuel Soft Chews​, Mightygum Chewing Gum​, Allysian Luxury Chocolates​, Copinaco Collagen Boost​, Kindroot Lozenges

Fruit-based Snack: Mars Fruit Blend

Bars: Atlasbars Proten Bar​, Garden of Life Nutritional Bar​, Getmindright Superfood​, Revival Modern Cacao​, Myndfulsnacks Superfood Bar

Whole food shake: Bulk Food Shake

KSM-66 Food & Beverage Case Studies

REBBL Ashwagandha Spicy Chai

In 2016, REBBL launched a line of Protein Elixirs with ashwagandha. This line combines a synergistic blend of plant proteins from sunflower, pea and pumpkin mixed with a blend of maca, ashwagandha and reishi. The Ashwagandha Chai is targeted at individuals seeking improved and sustained physical endurance, improved cognitive function, quick recovery and enhanced relaxation.

REBBL’s Co-founder Palo Hawken shares a story: “When I met with Kartikeya Baldwa, (Ixoreal’s CEO) and his team, they really convinced me that Ixoreal Biomed was a passion project. They were willing to do everything they could to produce the best product under their business model. They wanted you to adapt to their philosophy of doing it right.” He noted that Kartikeya described the traditional Ayurvedic healing techniques that were studied to help Ixoreal re-create the process used currently. “The [Ixoreal team] took all that information and tried to turn that into a good ingredient that would work. And that wasn’t easy. It took years of work. It felt like they were trying to honor the traditional knowledge,” he concluded.

After many detailed questions and probing his options, Hawken understood that Ixoreal had created an Ashwagandha Root ingredient that was “the most authentic and most true to the traditional healing modality of Ayurveda as they possibly could,” he said. “That’s the opposite of what many suppliers might do. They might just buy the root, soak it in alcohol and that’s it. [Ixoreal] had a high regard to traditional knowledge. And they don’t use any solvents to extract the ingredient. This is why I chose to use KSM-66.”

Kindroot Lozenges

With a full range of functional plant lozenges, Alisa Pospekhova, the founder and CEO of Kindroot wanted to make a difference in the world by giving us a revolutionary product in a delivery system that was convenient for our busy, modern lives. She trusted KSM-66 to add value to her product and said that, ‘We love our KSM-66 product. We chose it because of the quality standards that it has – we want to make sure we only offer the best to our customers, the fact that KSM-66 is available in the vegan option and provides excellent customer service. In terms of formulation – we loved working with the KSM-66 team.’

Good Superfoods

Good Superfoods uses KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root in many of its formulations, including its Superfood Chocolate bars. The reason for using KSM-66 is reliability, according to Jennifer Gaudry, senior vice president of research and development. The amount of proprietary research proving KSM-66’s purity and efficacy is another point of differentiation.

“So many ashwagandhas on the market are really just inferior,” she stated. “You don’t even know what you’re getting, and I think that’s a dangerous thing. For us, having that security and that peace of mind of knowing exactly what we’re getting, and having the evidence to back that up, is huge for us as a development company and as consumers of our own product.”

Since KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root extract’s benefits have been shown in clinicals to work in so many areas — sports performance, energy, stamina — Gaudry said the company “can use it across the board.” Good Superfoods’ products are consumed by a large audience. Its chocolate bar line caters to the general consumer wanting a healthy bar with a little something extra. “You can eat a dark chocolate bar and everyone knows that’s good for them,” Gaudry said. “So we enhance that chocolate by adding functional ingredients like the KSM-66 — it’s really that extra boost of nutrition.” Good Superfoods’ products also target key areas such as metabolism, stress and brain health.

Taika

Taika is quickly making a name in its niche of “perfectly calibrated coffees” functional canned coffees that feature KSM-66 — Oatmilk Latte, Macadamia, and Black Coffee.

According to Paolo Beltran, Head of R&D at Taika, the choice to work with KSM-66 over other Ashwagandha extracts was clear for several reasons. “We read a lot of research from people that used KSM-66 so we had confidence that the results in the research could match our goals. Also, KSM-66 is GRAS certified which makes it much easier for us to provide supply chain details to retail partners.”

Another reason is especially critical for beverages – taste neutrality. Said Beltran, “It tasted pretty good – we were able to get the flavor to work well with our initial applications (the coffee). 

Interestingly, Taika’s consumer feedback relates directly to KSM-66’s clinically proven benefits. Examples:

  • “My energy and focus stay constant throughout the day. I get a nice sense of calmness I’ve never had with any other coffee.”
  • “Definitely one of the best tasting canned lattes I’ve tried and felt calm and focused too.”
  • “Best adaptogen coffee out there! Doesn’t give the jitters that regular coffee gives, but instead a smooth elevation of mood and focus.”
  • “Gives me the energy and motivation boost of coffee without the jitters of brewed coffee!”

Conclusion

As consumers across the globe continue to seek out foods and beverages that are more than just nutritious but provide specific health benefits, KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root extract is a superior, flexible ingredient that helps fulfill wellness goals and tastes.

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References:

1.  https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/functional-food-market

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