In 2023, Virginia Dare reminisced on the past as it celebrated its centennial. This year, the company is looking toward the future as it moves its headquarters from Brooklyn to Carteret, N.J. The new state-of-the-art location features the following dedicated customer lab to facilitate collaboration with partners; labs and equipment for flavorists; production areas for prototyping; a world-class sensory center for new product testing; a tasting booth to gather flavor insights; modern prep kitchens; and ample capacity to accommodate continued growth toward the next century of flavor innovation. In addition to the new headquarters in Carteret, Virginia Dare opened a product development lab in Pasadena, Calif., in late 2023 and hired two industry veterans within the past several months. Nicole Staniec brings nearly 30 years of beverage industry experience as vice president of beverage products and Eduardo Villagómez joins Virginia Dare as the vice president of vanilla products following 20 years in the flavor industry.

The Association of Vanilla Exporters of Uganda Limited (VANEX) is raising awareness of the need to diversify vanilla sources to avoid supply chain disruptions, as well as spotlighting the unique benefits of Ugandan vanilla. “Government interference, weather events, and other unexpected impacts can all affect the vanilla supply chain,” VANEX Executive Director Prossy Tumushabe said in a statement. “Food and beverage brands and chefs can stabilize their supply and increase business flexibility by sourcing vanilla from multiple countries of origin.” With quality on par with Madagascar-sourced vanilla, a unique flavor profile, an ideal growing climate, and a hands-off government, Uganda is a natural option for brands seeking to diversify their vanilla supply, the association says. “Diversifying the country of origin for vanilla isn’t top of mind for most brands because they haven’t experienced a disruption yet, but expanding to multiple sources is a great way to future-proof supply,” said Craig Nielsen, vice president of sustainability for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a U.S.-based flavor house, in a statement. “Uganda isn’t as well-known in the vanilla industry yet, but it's emerging as a world-class source.” Furthermore, Uganda is positioned to offer vanilla at the volume and specifications required by customers of all sizes, the association adds.

Glanbia Nutritionals, in partnership with Jellice Co., introduced Collameta, a patented, higher potency collagen tripeptide that absorbs four times faster and provides 10 times the efficacy of traditional collagen peptides, it says citing the study “Absorption and Urinary Excretion of Peptides after Collagen Tripeptide Ingestion in Humans” and “Promotion of collagen synthesis (in vivo)” study. “We are excited

to bring Collameta to market because it provides a much higher percentage of bioactive tripeptide than other tripeptides on the market,” said Rachel Schreck, associate strategic product manager at Glanbia Nutritionals. “Formulating with collagen has been a challenge because standard collagen peptides are too big to be absorbed directly, resulting in a larger dose and limitations on certain applications. Collameta is a unique collagen tripeptide with a small molecular weight and high potency allowing for a much smaller dose, just one-tenth of a traditional collagen peptide dose, reducing overage issues and making it possible to add it to a wide variety of applications including ready-to-drink beverages, powder drink mixes, gummies, tablets, capsules, gels and bars.” Collameta will initially be offered in North America. Collagen tripeptides have been tested in human and animal clinical studies and have demonstrated benefits for skin, bones and joints. Research suggests that taking collagen tripeptides orally can enhance skin hydration and elasticity, alleviate knee osteoarthritis symptoms and promote bone healing processes, it says citing “Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study” and the study “Effect of collagen tripeptide on knee osteoarthritis in human and animals.”