Korean ingredient supplier Nics Corporation is to market a novel lipid developed by Israeli firm Enzymotec to dairy and infant formula makers.
The deal is the second for Enzymotec in the Korean market and part of its global effort to establish itself in the functional foods and nutraceuticals industry.
The ingredient, called InFat, is designed to imitate mother's milk in infant formulas and increase an infant's energy and calcium intake. It is also said to enable greater flexibility when blending with complimentary oils.
Hyung-Chun Suh, president of Nics Corporation, said that sales of InFat in 2004 will reach $3.5 million. The company, a trading subsidiary of the Korean giant Bukook, specialises in functional ingredients for the dairy industry and supplies the leading dairies in the market.
"The long-term agreement with Nics Corporation will enable us to penetrate the dynamic food market in Korea," said Dr Ariel Katz, Enzymotec's CEO. He added that the ingredient had potential far beyond infant formula applications.
Korean food giant Daesang is also using an Enzymotec ingredient, its canola-based MultOil, for a range of cholesterol-lowering foods, such as cooking oil and mayonnaise, set to launch early next year.
Recovery in the Korean economy since 1999 has brought increasing investment in biotechnology and nutraceuticals. The overall nutritional products market in the Asia-Pacific region was estimated to reach US$71.9 billion in 2002. Domestic production of special nutrient foods is increasing steadily, as are imports of herbal extracts and related items. Of particular interest to Korean consumers are child-specific products that claim to enhance children's academic performance.