Manuka Health New Zealand's new range of products drawing on the benefits of manuka honey will hit the shelves next month before rolling out across a 45-country distribution network, says chief executive Kerry Paul.
The products encapsulated the methylglyoxal active ingredient in manuka honey using cyclodextrins - a compound with the ability to enhance solubility, stabilise, control release rate and increase bioavailability and absorption.
Manuka Health has an Auckland office, Wairarapa bee-keeping operation, factory and distribution centre in Te Awamutu and turnover of nearly $20 million a year.
"I'd be disappointed if we didn't double it [turnover] in four years," Paul said.
A manuka honey lozenge and a capsule would be the first two products in the firm's CycloPower range, with a patent pending on the use of combining manuka honey with cyclodextrins and possibilities included Nasal sprays, ointments and creams.
The natural healthcare company already has about 80 functional food and dietary supplement products, including throat sprays and toothpastes.
"We're going a step further now by adding the CycloPower, that enables [us] to elevate their performance," Paul said.
Manuka Health had bought 1.3ha of land in Te Awamutu to build a new manufacturing complex, including a distribution centre, offices and laboratory, and the workforce has grown from about 25 to nearly 50 people since April last year, he said. "It's all coming together, the next 12 months is a big one."
Paul, who founded the company in 2006 with a group of investors, said a range of wound-care dressings were expected to start selling in North America and New Zealand in the next couple of months, which exchanged honey into the wound and drew out the bacterial infection.
"This is the year where we put into place these two major platforms [wound-care and CycloPower]," he said. "We've really been transformed from a wellness company into a natural healthcare company."
The company was looking at other New Zealand natural bio-actives, including green-lipped mussel.
Meanwhile, Professor Thomas Henle of the Institute of Food Chemistry, Technical University of Dresden - who was speaking at the University of Waikato yesterday - said research had shown unambiguously that methylglyoxal in manuka honey was not absorbed into the body and did not pose a dietary risk for consumers.
"This is good news for all manufacturers of manuka honey and for consumers," Henle said. "Manuka honey is safe to eat, people can eat as much as they like, whenever they like."
The German team showed manuka honey's most potent ability to fight infection was in the mouth, throat and stomach.
Henle's visit to New Zealand was sponsored by Manuka Health - formed after he identified methylglyoxal as the compound responsible for manuka honey's anti-bacterial activity - in association with Waikato and Auckland Universities.