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2010 Ag Innovator of the Year: Suntava

Twin Cities-based Suntava regards its proprietary hybrids of purple corn as a treasure trove of healthful food ingredients, from a natural red colorant, to milled components for everything from snack bars to cereals. The company also has plans to announce a groundbreaking neutraceutical.

“The key ingredient in our purple corn is anthocyanin, which is both a natural ingredient and an antioxidant, with twice the antioxidant capacity of blueberries,” says Bill Petrich, CEO of Suntava. “Our purple corn is traditionally bred, not genetically modified. We have meticulously hand-bred our corn to get it to grow in the northern tier of the Corn Belt, and we continue to make improvements each year on our hybrids, each geared to different uses.”

Another recent addition to Suntava’s product list is nectar, a slightly sweet extract that can be used as a binding agent for snack bars, or as an ingredient in jellies and jams. Beer lovers fear not—one beer based on Suntava’s purple corn extract has launched and another will offer its brew by the end of the year.