VDF FutureCeuticals: The Plant-Based Nutraceutical Company
VDF FutureCeuticals, Inc., Momence, IL, is a subsidiary of Van Drunen Farms, a 150-year-old family owned agri-business company, which has become one of the world’s largest producers of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. About five years ago, brothers Jeff and Kevin Van Drunen recognized an emerging pattern. According to Rick Kaiser, senior sales and product manager, as cutting-edge nutritional researchers investigating diabetes, prostate cancer, eye health and heart disease, among other health conditions, searched for sources of fruits and vegetables containing high levels of bioactive compounds, they inevitably sourced ingredients from Van Drunen Farms. “As growers, scientists and producers, the Van Drunen brothers were certain news of these health discoveries would eventually reach millions of consumers, triggering new business opportunities,” he said. “They also knew that few companies had the expertise, infrastructure and global resources equal to what the Van Drunens spent five generations creating, so FutureCeuticals was created.”
As the nutraceutical/functional ingredient division of Van Drunen Farms, FutureCeuticals functions as the primary processor of nutraceutical, functional food and cosmetic ingredients. FutureCeuticals produces hundreds of ingredients, from lycopene standardized tomato powders to broccoli sprouts rich in sulforaphane to probiotic strains offering immune support. Nutrim™ oat bran, VitaBlue™ blueberry extract, FruiteX-B™ phyto-boron, CoffeeBerry™ extract and Glut 4 Plus™ are all proprietary ingredients with a wide range of applications, including satiety, cognitive function, cholesterol, immunity, diabetes, bone health, hormone regulation and arthritis pain relief.
In addition to its vast portfolio of ingredients, FutureCeuticals offers a broad spectrum of processing capabilities, which include fermentation, refining, IQF (individually quick frozen) freezing, freeze drying, drum drying, air drying, spray drying, vacuum evaporation, extraction, synthesis, milling, grinding and blending. With locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and California, the company’s state-of-the-art plants process over 50 million pounds of product every year for the food, nutraceutical and dietary supplement industries. Its facilities, which are all GMP compliant, include 600,000 square feet of production area, two microbiology labs, an HPLC reference lab and over 1000 acres of organically certified farmland in Illinois and California.
Commenting on recent expansion within the company was Mr. Kaiser. “We just opened a world-class freeze-drying operation in Europe. When added to our operations outside of Chicago and San Francisco, we’re positioned to meet the growing world demands for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables from food, beverage, and nutraceutical companies,” he said. “In addition, our probiotics business expanded and relocated outside of Milwaukee and we’ve added a major farming operation in California to our existing farms in Illinois.”
As for the state of the industry, Mr. Kaiser said the nutraceutical industry has shaken off the problems of the last four years and is rapidly returning to robust growth. “Recent trade shows have been busy, upbeat and full of optimism,” he offered. “Consumers are getting hammered by increased healthcare costs, a pandemic of obesity, failure of our flu vaccine programs and the removal from the market of widely used prescription products. In response, the nutraceutical industry can offer real solutions to these problems.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Kaiser said that he sees the future of the nutraceutical market emerging from the food industry. “The cereals we ate as kids contained artificial flavors and colors. Today, parents and kids are demanding cereals with real fruit, because they understand health benefits come from real blueberries, peaches and strawberries,” he said. “The emerging opportunities in the nutraceutical industry will be to combine ingredients like vitamin C with real blueberries for added antioxidant power, combining a plant-based boron like FruiteX-B to glucosamine to fill the void left by Vioxx®, and building on the science foundation of oats for weight control and diabetes.”—T.W.
300 W. 6th Street
Momence, IL 60954