As demand for natural foods grows, industry has begun to look to exotic plants as a source of alternative, natural, ingredients. But how can we identify and source the right botanical compounds.
Professor Monique Simmonds, from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, UK, explains that identifying a natural botanical source for your ingredients, though a big challenge, is only half of the battle in producing foods from exotic plants.
The real issue, she says, is whether industry can create reliable and sustainable supply chains for such natural ingredients, because without that, even the most promising ingredients will lack any commercial viability.
“We need to assist in identifying those [plants] with that potential, so that we can put conservation strategies in place that can save the plants … And to do that we really need to save the habitats that the plants grow in,” said Simmonds.