Immune-boosting ingredients – the new generation of trendsetting products

60% of consumers worldwide proactively look for products which improve their health. 1

Doctors and nutritional experts agree: A healthy and varied diet is not only decisive for the general well-being, but it also prevents a variety of illnesses. Products which represent a sensible supplement to this nutrition and – in combination with a healthy and active lifestyle – easily support a well-functioning immune system, are more important now than ever before. This is why functional foods and beverages which support specific health-related functions are becoming increasingly popular with consumers around the world. 

Döhler offers a comprehensive portfolio of natural ingredients and ingredient systems with health-promoting properties which form the perfect basis for the development of innovative, market-oriented products featuring a healthy added value.

How can the immune system be supported?
The human immune system is a complex and finely balanced system which protects our body against “foreign” intruders and organisms, such as bacteria, viruses or parasites. A wide range of defence mechanisms participate in the identification and neutralisation of these intruders.

Nutrition and nutritional conditions are very important in supporting the immune system, for example when fighting infections. Numerous nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as the minerals zinc, copper and selenium, assist in regulating this immune response. Fruits, vegetables and the secondary plant substances contained in them can also have a positive impact on the various functions of the immune system and can also modulate it.

In order to contribute to the development of market-oriented and functional products, Döhler combines the latest findings from nutritional science, regulatory aspects and consumer findings with current trends involving health, naturalness, plant-based nutrition and sustainability.

Natural, plant-based ingredients for supporting the immune system
Natural, plant-based ingredients, such as botanical extracts, juices and purées, along with vitamins and mineral mixtures, can be used in a wide range of applications. This creates healthy and refreshing smoothies, energising teas or functional powders as nutritional supplements – Döhler’s comprehensive product portfolio allows a multitude of health-related positionings related to the immune system.

Integrated Health Solutions from Döhler
So-called “superfruits” such as pomegranates, baobab and others are also considered to promote health. They are added to many foods and beverages due to the naturally high content of secondary plant ingredients and vitamins. The acerola cherry is a true vitamin C blast – 100 g of the fruit contain an average of 1,700 mg of natural vitamin C, making it the fruit with the highest vitamin C content in the world. When adhering to specific dosages, this completely natural trend ingredient allows you to make claims in line with the Health Claims Regulation. Possible applications include using acerola cherries as a nutritional supplement, for example as tablets or powders. The superfruit can also provide an added value in other products such as protein shakes as well as in confectionery or cereal bars.

Probiotics score big with special, health-promoting properties, including the maintenance and restoration of a healthy intestinal flora. This in turn has a positive effect on the human immune system. Döhler offers probiotics in form of probiotic fruit granulates. These crunchy and colourful ingredients impress with their authentic fruit taste, while containing living probiotic cultures. Another advantage is that the granulates are easy to process, for example in muesli, yoghurt caps or sports bars.

Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables for innovative juice drinks
While the global market for juices declined by 6.2% in 2020 when compared to the previous year, innovative and functional concepts with an added value recorded significant growth.2 Orange juice, multivitamin juice and many other products with high juice content are in greater demand in Central Europe and North America than ever before thanks to their valuable nutrients. Citrus products, red fruits and vegetables allow the development of various applications such as juices, nectars, smoothies and juice shots. These are rich in valuable natural nutrients and are recommended for boosting the immune system.

Citrus products have long been popular due to their high, natural vitamin C content. Oranges and lemons are thus at the top of most lists of recommendations for supporting the immune system. Vitamin-rich classics such as orange-acerola NFCs or multi-fruit juice made from concentrate are therefore experiencing a consistently high popularity. Red fruits possess anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the contained anthocyanins and have been proven to improve the immune function. They also feature strong anti-oxidative properties. Fruity-fresh and nutritious beverage applications can thus be developed based on dark berries, such as apple-black currant-aronia NFC or superfruit smoothies containing pomegranates, blueberries and açaí.

Fruit juices should be delicious, fruity, refreshing and, above all, healthy. From boosting the immune system to anti-ageing – innovations for juice and juice drinks with a healthy added value are increasingly entering the market. Vegetables are becoming ever more popular as ingredients in these applications, as they contain many vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances, and they are low in sugar. This explains the increase in the consumption of beverages with vegetables,3 especially in juice and juice drinks over the past years. With their high pro vitamin A content, carrots support cell protection, for example in mucous membranes. Broccoli and sweet red peppers are considered a strong support for the immune system due to their vitamin C content. This allows creating numerous taste combinations that combine fruity indulgence with mild vegetables, such as ACE smoothies with carrots and ginger, an organic orange-carrot NFC or a mango-sweet red pepper-carrot juice which are not only rich in nutrients but also open new taste worlds. Along with citrus fruits, consumers also associate ginger with a boost to the immune system. This is why juice products with ginger are in particular demand, for example as ginger shots.

Botanical extracts for foods and beverages with an emotional added value
Botanical extracts not only create unique taste sensations, they also generate positive health-related associations. Due to their special properties, they provide diverse options for different product positionings, including in the segment involving the immune system. This makes it possible to develop products with an emotional added value based on these ingredients.

Through its botanical diversity, nature opens up a rich source of natural extracts that meet exactly this key consumer demand. One region in the world especially well known for its botanical richness is the South African cape.

With its comprehensive portfolio of botanical extracts, Döhler incorporates the natural treasures of Africa into food and beverages around the world. The selected raw materials forming the basis of this valuable product portfolio are sustainably sourced and grown and harvested directly at their source. Through its own cultivation and the use of state-of-the-art technologies, the company offers extracts in the highest standardised quality. Moringa, baobab and rooibos, for example, have been used for centuries by the local population to support mental and physical health. Today, these valuable plant extracts offer inspiration and innovation potential in the area of health-promoting foods and beverages, such as those for immune-boosting products.

As a global producer, marketer and provider of technology-based natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions, Döhler’s primary focus is on the development of innovative products and concepts. In line with the company slogan, “We bring ideas to life.”, Döhler develops custom complete solutions, processes and innovations for its customers around the world – from the field to the supermarket shelves.


1 Global Data, 2020
2 Global Data, 2020
3 Global Data, 2020




Professional article: Immune-boosting ingredients – the new generation of trendsetting products | DEI - Die Ernährungsindustrie, Edition 01-2021

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