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Ganeden on 'predatory lawsuits', probiotic tea and the Walmart snowball effect

16-Jun-2011
Last updated the 16-Jun-2011 at 15:25 GMT

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Elaine Watson caught up with Ganeden Biotech's business development boss Mike Bush at the IFT show to talk about opportunities in the food and drink market for its ultra-resilient BC30 probiotic strain.

Ganeden is working with “three or four” leading US food retailers on private-label product launches containing BC30 following a successful partnership with Walmart, revealed Bush.

The retail giant, which has recently launched a yogurt called enliven containing BC30,was now working with Ganeden on other products, said Bush. “We’re working on line extensions in the refrigerated section.”

Ganeden was also having “conversations with 85 percent of the top tier” food and beverage firms in the US about application opportunities, he claimed.

“We’ve been overwhelmed. Interest from the food and beverage sector has been exceptionally high, especially from the bakery and confectionery market, but we’re also seeing interest from juice, sports nutrition, bars and frozen yogurts. We’ve also done a lot of research on shelf-stable beverages, which go through some pretty rigorous processing steps including hot filling and pasteurization.”

Probiotics and health claims

Some potential customers were wary of probiotics given that some big names including Dannon , Bayer and Nestlé had been challenged over health claims, he said.

However, Ganeden always advised manufacturers to be cautious, he said. “We have numerous studies that support digestive and immunity claims but ‘supports digestive health’ is most common.”

Meanwhile, a lot of effort was going into branding, he said. “It’s a requirement that companies use the BC30 logo on their packaging. It’s the ‘Intel inside’ approach.”

Because BC30 can be boiled, baked, frozen, pasteurized and extruded, it could be used in a whole swathe of food applications previously closed to probiotics from hot tea to muffins, said Bush.

“Probiotics have been tied to the dairy case for years. Not any more.”

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