The study determines the nutrient values, safety, and market acceptability of the flower of Blue Ternate (Clitoria ternatea L.) tea specifically by an identified and target tea user in terms of health and wellness benefits, nutritional values, hygiene and safety. This study used descriptive method of research using the laboratory tests results of the Blue Ternate dried flower to determine the nutrient values and a survey questionnaire for its market acceptability. The respondents were sixty (60) potential tea users taken by purposive sampling. Data were statistically processed and analyzed using frequency count and percentages. Nutritional values of Blue Ternate Tea included the nutritional and proximate analysis limited to the priority macronutrients: fiber, protein, fat and ash; the caloric content was based on the laboratory test results per grams and per sample of the tea by the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Laboratory test results showed that the tea product was hygienic and safe for consumption. Microbiological analysis and evaluation shown no indications of pathogen entry and tea produced was in adherence to current practices and standard and ingredient acceptability as indicated by the laboratory test results of Aerobic Plate Count (APC), Yeast and Mold Count (YMC), Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus. In terms of market acceptability, results of the survey revealed that the Blue Ternate tea was hygienically prepared, safe to be consumed and had high level of market acceptability. Economically, it will bring about future source of rural livelihood for people to be involved in the propagation and collection of the raw materials and future cultivation. Employment opportunities are envisioned for those who will be involved in product development and packaging of Blue Ternate Tea. The mass propagation and sustainable production of the tea derived from Blue Ternate will ultimately address the program of the present government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health security, poverty alleviation and reduction platform. This project was anchored on the platform of The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Sector. Mass production of tea from this indigenous plant promotes job generation to the Filipino people and inclusive growth through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in consonance to RA 10644 otherwise known as the “Go Negosyo Act” of 2013.
Keywords: Blue ternate (Clitoria ternatea L.), nutrient values, market acceptability, health and wellness, safety, tea production, economic profitability
Blue Ternate also branded as Butterfly Pea and scientifically known as Clitoria ternatea is now getting well-known in the Philippines because of its combined health benefits and unique aesthetic value. The following are agronomic information in propagating Blue Ternate pea plant: (1) Soil Adaptation. Blue Ternate is well adapted to grow in wide range of soil types (in between pH range 5.5-8.9) from deep alluvial to sandy including calcareous soils. It extremely well adapted to heavy clay alkaline soils, and especially on clay soils but also grow well in moderate fertile soils. Clitoria ternatea likes a rich, moist soil (peat moss: part sand or perlite 2:1:1) therefore the soil should be evenly moist at all times for well growth; (2) Water Requirement. It requires approximately 400mm of rainfall but also performs well under irrigation areas and grows from drier to the fairly drought tolerant areas. Due to the nature of Blue Ternate, it cannot tolerate prolonged inundation or water logging but can tolerate short term flooding; (3) Favorable Temperature and Sunlight. It needs moderate temperature down to 250C but not suited to locations with frequent frosts or severe frosts, but it stands up well in hot summer temperature and having low frost tolerance. It is moderately shade tolerant but can normally grow in full sunlight; (4) Fertilizer Requirement. Blue Ternate is normally grown in soil containing phosphorus (P) and sulfur(S) which may be required as fertilizers if sown in the infertile soils; and (5) Propagation. The Blue Ternate pods contain around 20% of hard seed according to the seasonal conditions in where it is produced and grow rapidly in warm-moist weather. It is harvested manually by hands and is propagated from seed or by cuttings. The seeds of Blue Ternate are covered by hard seed coats therefore do not germinate or imbibe water, but when stored for 6 months 15-20% germination can be obtained. The used of hot water, sulfuric acid (H2 SO4), potassium hydroxide and soaking in 100mg/L solution of Sodium cyanide (NaCN) has also improved germination and early plant growth while mechanical scarification increased germination of 6-month-old seed from 30% to 71%. This perennial climber blooms the whole year by the used of trellising. It is expected that the plant can bloom in 6 weeks. It has a twining fine stem about 0.5-3m long. The leaves are pinnate, with 5-7 elliptic to lanceolate lengths, 3-5cm long. Pods are flat, linear, beaked, 6-12cm long, 0.7-1.2mm wide and slightly pubescent with up to 10 seeds. The seeds are olive, brown or black in color, often mottled, 4.5-7mm long and 3-4mm wide (Manju Latu Zingare et al., 2009).
The seeds and other materials that were used during propagation were provided by the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center under the umbrella of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-ROF6) Regional Field Office 6 of the Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, this wonder herb is grown abundantly under College’ Techno-Demo Farm propagated by the Agriculture students in the School of Agriculture. For technology dissemination, the Office of Research, Development and Extension (RDE) Services of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) Batad Campus took a major role. The propagation of Blue Ternate herb was extended to the community to cater future source of livelihood to those who are involved in large and sustainable scale production. Employment opportunities are envisioned for those who will be involved in product development and packaging of Blue Ternate Tea for value adding.
Health Benefits of Blue Ternate Tea
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water (Knite, 2014). The trend and foreseen demand for drinks with helpful benefits make an opportune time to uncover another “tea flavor”. Blue Ternate (Clitoria ternatea L.) is a potential source of phytochemicals and hormones with nutritional and helpful benefits. The flower has the power to heal and offer beneficial enzymes needed by the body that other plants cannot provide. There are various benefits that can be derived from the flower of Butterfly Pea: It has natural antioxidants, helps improve blood circulation, helps prevent hair loss and graying. It also cleanses blood, improves night vision, revitalizes skin and hair (Dizon, 2014). Butterfly pea herb has been proven as a safe herb and this has not any major side effect or mortality. It is used in enhancing memory and reducing stress. The flower extract of the plant has been proven scientifically to protect against free radical and is full of antioxidants. Furthermore, the levels of some non-enzymic antioxidant namely ascorbic acid, reduced glutathione and total carotenoids were estimated in flowers of Butterfly Pea. (Venkateshwaran, 2015).
The Key Players of Blue Ternate Flower Tea in the Global Market
The key players operating in the global Blue Ternate flower tea market are Siam Industries International, Yumchaa, Manila Superfoods, Morning Farm, healthy Organic, Woodland Foods, Chaidee Factory Co., Ltd., Bluechai, Longevity Warehouse, and Tea Forte. In 2016, Seven Tea One launched its Blue Ternate flower tea commercial products in South East Asia. The company uses a sustainable urban farming concept to target growing ethical and healthy food and beverage consumer base of the region. In 2018, Starbucks Asia launched a special edition cold brew beverage for the spring season based on the Blue Ternate flower tea. The Blue Ternate flower tea was chosen both for its aesthetic value and cooling effect. Geographies chosen for the Blue Ternate flower tea infused cold brew drink are Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and other major South East Asian countries. Developed regions like North America and Europe is anticipated to form a major consuming region in terms of value and volume of global Blue Ternate flower tea market. However, Asia Pacific region is expected to form a dominant market for the butterfly pea flower tea resulted in traditional consumption and well-established market in the region. Latin America is expected to form a substantial volume demand for the Blue Ternate flower tea resulted in its growing healthy food trend in the region. The Middle East and Africa to witness overall slower growth dynamics resulted from its unorganized retail sector.
From RDE-based research to business opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs
Due to this overwhelming turn-out in terms of the market acceptability of Blue Ternate tea in the global scale, and because of the increasing demand among the healthy-pursue tea users in the Philippines and considering the health benefits of Blue Ternate tea, the researchers were motivated to conduct another technological research that would determine the nutrient values and market acceptability of the tea produced from the flower of Blue Ternate in the local settings. Owing to greater nutritional value, the social enterprise of the Blue Ternate flower tea is expected to form strong consumer base in the herbal tea market. Increasing per capita food spending and expanding retail sector is expected to help Blue Ternate flower tea producer to gain traction quickly in developing regions of the Asia Pacific and Latin America as a premium offering. Organic Blue Ternate flower tea segment is anticipated to experience faster growth rates in the global Blue Ternate flower tea market. In the Philippines, the mass propagation and sustainable production of the tea derived from Blue Ternate will ultimately address the program of the present government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health security, poverty alleviation and reduction platform by enhancing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to venture and invest in this new lucrative business. Blue Ternate flower tea was identified to be one of the key segments under the herbal tea market which has a competitive nutritional profile and a key competitor in the key herbal tea types. Millennial and baby boomers are identified as the key consumer base for the Blue Ternate flower tea market which is expected to be targeted by the key players in the market through various marketing approach. To increase know-how of the target markets about traditional based food, the products is posted and advertise in various internet online publications and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study determined the nutrient values, safety, and market acceptability of the flower of Blue Ternate (Clitoria ternatea L.) tea specifically by an identified and target tea user in terms of health and wellness benefits, nutritional values, hygiene and safety.
Specifically, it aimed to answer the following questions:
- What are the nutritional values derived from the powdered tea of the flowers of Blue Ternate?
- Is powdered tea derived from the flower of Blue Ternate hygienically safe for consumption?
- What is the level of market acceptability of powdered tea based on the assessment result obtained from potential tea consumers?
This study used descriptive method of research using the laboratory tests results of the Blue Ternate dried flowers to determine the nutrient values and a survey questionnaire for its market acceptability. The respondents were 60 potential tea users taken by purposive sampling. Data were statistically processed and analyzed using frequency count and percentages. Nutritional values of Blue Ternate Tea included the nutritional and proximate analysis limited to the priority macronutrients: fiber, protein, fat and ash; the caloric content was based on the laboratory test results per grams and per sample of the tea by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The procedural design in the preparation of the materials in the production of tea from Blue Ternate is illustrated in Figure 1.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Nutrient values of Blue Ternate
Results of the laboratory tests revealed that in terms of nutritional value, Blue Ternate tea had a considerable amount of nutrients that could supplement the daily diet. Nutrients available per 3 g serving size, were total fat (0.69%); crude protein (6.43%), carbohydrate (18.8%) and ash/traces of minerals (1.40%). Energy available in blue ternate was 107.3 kcal per serving.
MICROBIOLOGICAL TEST RESULTS OF BLUE TERNATE TEA
Laboratory test results showed that the tea product was hygienic and safe for consumption. Microbiological analysis and evaluation showed no indications that there is any pathogen entry and tea produced was in adherence to current practices and standard as indicated by the laboratory test results of Aerobic Plate Count (APC), Yeast and Mold Count (YMC), Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus.
MARKET ACCEPTABILITY OF BLUE TERNATE TEA
Results showed that of the 60 potential tea users 17 or 23.33%, positively accepted Blue ternate tea as naturally produced tea with no preservatives, 21 or 35% agreed that tea product has plenty of health benefits, 11 or 18.33% agreed that the tea product suited their taste and 18.33% agreed that the tea product has attractive color, pleasant odor, and is convenient to use if it is readily available in the market. Results further showed that potential tea users had indicated positive response towards using of Blue ternate tea once it would be readily available in the market in convenient packaging.
Blue ternate tea had shown good indicators of marketability because of its nutritional value, as indicated in the laboratory test results and microbiological tests. Overall results showed that the Blue Ternate tea has positive market acceptability. If we are to base in the context of promotional marketing, it is considered that the viability of producing Blue Ternate tea have a high market segment in terms of consumers (tea users), price (economical), tea product (high value for health and wellness). Furthermore, this wonder herb can be abundantly grown under NIPSC Batad condition. In terms of economic profitability, it will cater future source of livelihood to those who are involved in large and sustainable propagation and production. Employment opportunities are envisioned for those who will be involved in product development and packaging of Blue Ternate Tea.
Blue Ternate tea social enterprise in support of RA 10644 of the Philippine law
The Philippines enacted into law Republic Act (RA) 10644, otherwise known as an act promoting job generation and inclusive growth through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises or the “Go Negosyo Act” of 2013 in support to the Filipino people directly engaging or to those who are planning to engage in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) like the production of tea from an indigenous plant locally and abundantly grown in the Municipality of Batad, Iloilo. In this law, it is hereby declared, the policy of the State to foster national development, promote inclusive growth, and reduce poverty by encouraging the establishment of micro, small and medium enterprises that facilitate local job creation, production and trade in the country. MSMEs increase income for poor households and build both business equity and personal assets over a period of time. To this end, the State shall develop plans and initiate means to ease the constraints on the establishment of MSMEs in order to rationalize the existing bureaucratic regulations, providing greater incentives and benefits to MSMEs, and strengthening the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council (RA 10644, section 2).
The mass propagation and sustainable production of the tea derived from Blue Ternate will ultimately address the program of the present government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health security, poverty alleviation and reduction platform. This project was anchored on the platform of The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Sector. The development agenda was crafted in-line with the President’s 10-point Socio-economic Agenda pursuant to Executive Order No. 5, s. 2016, including: (1) a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor; (2) a healthy and resilient society; (3) a smart and innovative society; and (4) a high trust society.
To promote ease of doing business and access to services for this particular business enterprise for MSMEs within its jurisdiction, the production, processing and product development of Blue Ternate tea has gain merit of acceptance from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) by virtue of the issuance of Certificate of Utility Model Registration Number: 2-2019 000256 and Trademark Registration Number: 508581 which can be helpful for product recognition and for its business operations in the future upon the approval of the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD) for public use and consumption.
Blue Ternate tea contains nutritive and medicinal values as indicated in its health and wellness benefits based on laboratory test results and market acceptability of tea consumers. The tea product is hygienic and safe for consumption as revealed in the results of the microbiological analysis and product evaluation tests. The tea produced from the flower of Blue Ternate is positively accepted and has good market potential due its health and wellness benefits.
The wonder herb can be abundantly grown under NIPSC Batad condition. Large scale production of this tea product will ensure future source of livelihood to our local communities by virtue of the establishment of micro, small and medium enterprises that facilitate local job creation, production and trade in the country in consonance to RA 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act of 2013. The mass propagation and sustainable production of the tea derived from Blue Ternate will ultimately address the program of the present government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health security, poverty alleviation and reduction platform especially for those who are living in the countryside.
Product development, packaging and value adding for commercialization of Blue Ternate tea is highly recommended. Mass production of this product will boost backyard growers to start a small-scale business of selling plants’ vegetative parts for propagation (including seeds/seedlings and flowers) aside from tea products. Having stated the health and wellness benefits of Blue Ternate, the researchers also recommend the proliferation of this herb in the backyards of every household for the consumption of the family.
Further researches are encouraged to use other parts of this herbal plant such as leaves, stem, fruits and roots to further develop its nutritive potential and medicinal benefits.
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