Taking rooibos where it’s never been before

Afriplex, the Paarl-based ingriedients and flavour company specialising in indigenous botanical extracts, prides itself on being an innovation incubator and it has just made public a great new concept for rooibos tea – TeaStix, instant rooibos powdered tea in a range of tasty flavours.

Designed to be imbibed hot or cold, TeaStix are a tasty and functional indulgence in a convenient, drink-on-the-go format.

Several flavour options are available: pomegranate & strawberry; ginger & peach; mixed berries; and peach & mango.

“There’s a constant demand for functional flavoured drinks that are convenient and easy to consume, and we’re we believe this is an exciting new way to present rooibos and offers some interesting product development potential for tea and beverage marketers,” comments Donnie Malherbe, Afriplex’s technical director.

“Rooibos is well known for its health benefits, with its high antioxidant activity confirmed by independent accredited laboratory analysis used to determine ORAC values. Thus, TeaStix are one way that consumers can be assured that not only are they a quick and easy way to stay hydrated, but also provide the recommended intake of antioxidants based on the 5-a-day diet.”

TeaStix is the work Afriplex’s product development centre that has built up a fine reputation as a hub of creative, scientific and technical capability, and has enjoyed notable growth and industry recognition for its successful conceptualisation, testing and development of novel and commercially viable products.

The unit, led by Grant Momplé and Riaan van Breda, comprises a team of chemical engineers, pharmacists, food scientists and product developers who are well experienced in research, pharmacology, regulatory requirements, food technology and plant extraction.

“I want to put more of Africa into African products. Too many ingredients are imported at exorbitant prices – including environmental costs, for example in terms of CO2 emissions. Combining the latest technology with African ingredients and skills enables us to produce affordable and nutritious, and most importantly, sustainable food … My special expertise lies in the knowledge of first world flavour technology and a sound understanding of the requirements of third world markets – and the know-how to marry the two.”

As chief-in-charge of Afriplex’s Food and Beverage Division, Grant says he has has two main goals: to develop and supply health supplements and fortified foods and beverages that promote and support an holistic, healthy and sustainable lifestyle; and to offer clients a “one-stop shop” for all their product development needs – from laboratory prepared samples for submission and evaluation to factory trials; from troubleshooting and innovation to full scale production and even labelling – to ensure successful product launches.

In addition to the division’s modern application laboratory, Grant and his team also have a wealth of contacts at various universities and research institutes, and access to facilities around the country for further analysis and research, the preparation of full factory samples, and eventual production.

Afriplex: www.afriplex.co.za