For more than three decades, Flavex Naturextrakte has been a leader in the field of supercritical botanical extracts. Ingredients Insight talks to the company's managing director, Dr Karl-Werner Quirin, about how its active ingredients enhance the capabilities of cosmetic formulations, dietary food supplements and more.
Dr Karl-Werner Quirin: Flavex is a small-to-medium-sized private company that's specialised for 30 years in the production of supercritical botanical extracts, a sector that we've found has been characterised by a demand that tends to increase year on year. Our focus tends not to be on the creation of larger-scale items, such as hop extracts, defatted cocoa products or decaffeinated tea. Instead, we're involved in the manufacture of a wide range of supercritical herb, root and bark extracts, of which there is an almost unlimited feedstock pool for fragrance and flavouring extracts, products with particular antioxidative, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing or immunomodulation efficacy, as well as for formulations addressing cardiovascular or metabolic disorders. For the most part, our products are used as active ingredients in dietary food supplements or cosmetic formulations.
Supercritical extracts are non-polar products representing mainly secondary plant metabolites. Therefore, the composition is more unique and characteristic for the starting material, as compared with, say, more-polar extracts containing common polysaccharides, glycosides or proteins. Supercritical extracts are solvent-free and practically sterile without the need of preservation, since they don't provide a base for germ growth. Heavy metals are insoluble and of no problem as well.
What's more, the products don't contain any carriers, excipients or technical adjuncts, only extractives. This all allows a simple and clean label declaration. Lastly, due to their lipophilic character and high concentration, supercritical extracts are ideal for including in cosmetic formulations or for soft-gel encapsulation, which is the preferred delivery method for supplements.
Some of the most important products that we manufacture at Flavex are our wide variety of ginger extracts, enriched in essential oil or gingerols, all of which is made possible by the selectivity of the supercritical carbon dioxide solvent that we employ. Other supercritical extracts in our product portfolio include turmeric, oregano, camomile and calendula extracts, in addition to rosemary antioxidants and speciality oils. Most of these can be used in cosmetic and food applications.
Our company is a pioneer in the field of supercritical extracts and, to that extent, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of extracts that are well established and ready to ship at your convenience. Flavex's long-term activity in the sector has contributed to the permanent optimisation of all of our processes, as well as our sourcing, conditioning, extraction and certification of high-grade botanicals. Furthermore, in addition to our considerable technological expertise in high-pressure plant operation, we retain a comprehensive level of expertise in phytochemistry and the analysis of marker constituents through the use of state-of-the-art instrumentation but also a background in regulatory requirements.
All of these steps are realised at our single site in Germany, guaranteeing a high level of quality, integrity and consistency in our products. Last but not least, our activity is backed up by traceable documentation, different certifications, and engagement in research and development.
Flavex sells extracts exclusively to downstream processing industries that are using supercritical extracts in their cosmetic products or supplement formulations. We produce and supply directly without an intermediary, allowing a direct working relationship with our contacts and simplifying the transfer of information. What's more, we believe it offers a short and transparent supply chain comprising just three steps: the purchase of the necessary feedstock from approved suppliers, processing under strict quality control, and the supply of the extract to our clients. It's a model that we've found has worked very well over the years.