GTC Nutrition has bought the majority of oat-derived ingredient manufacturer Nurture's assets as part of a deal that brings with it the promise of a larger distribution network for Nurture.
A business unit of corn refining company, Corn Products International, GTC Nutrition supplies and distributes ingredients throughout the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Nurture's flagship product, Oatvantage, boasts a high concentration of soluble oat fiber for lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol.
To date, Oatvantage is already used as a branded ingredient in products sold at retail in the US, but GTC's acquisition could open up further possibilities in dietary supplements and functional foods both at home and abroad.
"Nurture's oat processing technology, combined with the manufacturing competency and global reach of GTC Nutrition, is a very robust new natural ingredient growth platform," Nurture chairman Griffith Parker said. "We look forward to the continued success of this innovative ingredient line in the marketplace thanks to GTC Nutrition's team of scientific, technical and marketing expertise."
Based in Golden, Colorado, GTC's existing product line includes NutraFlora short-chain fructooligosaccharides, Aquamin natural calcified mineral source, CalciLife prebiotic mineral formulation, Natureal oat bran concentrate as well as prebiotic fiber and Xylitol polyol.
Nurture claims to have pioneered the development of a cost-saving "wet" oat processing that favors the use of its nutritional and functional component parts in a wide variety of food and beverage applications not possible through traditional dry milling methods.
OatVantage provides 18 times the amount of fiber than oatmeal and can be used in encapsulation and tableting, semi-solid and solid foods and beverages, functional foods, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements.
Clinical studies have shown that oat beta-glucan significantly reduces LDL and total cholesterol, and oatmeal has carried a health claim, approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), since 1997.
An example the FDA provides for such health claims is:
"Soluble fiber from foods such as oat bran, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Nurture says its product provides an easier way for consumers to meet FDA's recommendation of eating three grams of oat soluble fiber per day, which is equivalent to eating about three bowls of instant oatmeal.
The fiber market in the US alone was worth $192.8m in 2004, according to Frost and Sullivan, which predicts the market will grow to to $470m by 2011.
Beyond lowering cholesterol, oat fiber is also said to help manage blood sugar levels and decrease appetite (thereby helping to manage weight), both of which have a beneficial effect for the whole cardiovascular system.
In 2004, GTC joined forces with Illinois-based Corn Products International, a global corn refiner and supplier of sweeteners and starches, with more than 6,000 employees.
"By integrating Oatvantage into our portfolio we will be able to further our commitment to provide our customers with innovative, customized ingredient solutions for improved health and wellness," said GTC president Patrick Smith in a statement.