Puleva Biotech gets funding boost for new probiotics

Related tags Probiotic Milk

Puleva Biotech, the biotech arm of Spanish food group Ebro Puleva,
has been awarded funding worth €428,290 from a regional development
fund to help it start up a new probiotics line.

The R&D firm recently reported​ that it was ready to produce selected strains, isolated from human breastmilk, for the commercial market.

It has already spent around €3 million on a new plant in Granada, where the product has been developed and the manufacturing process optimised. It will first be produced in frozen pellets for the dairy industry and then freeze-dried for use in supplements.

The extra funding from Andalusia's Development Institute (IFA) will however be a significant boost to Puleva Biotech, which still derives most of its business comes from sister companies. For example, it currently sells 7 million litres of its omega-3 fatty acids each month to dairy business Puleva, which produces an omega-3 fortified milk. It has also been working on prebiotic ingredients for the sugar business Azucarera.

The new probiotics production has been sold to Ebro Puleva and the dairy arm Puleva is said to be very interested in the new strains, with a new product expected to launch in the autumn, according to a source at the company.

However Puleva is hoping to drive sales through outside contracts, and the commercial production of new strains of probiotic bacteria is expected to open up new markets for the firm.

"These are the same bacteria being transferred to babies to shore up their immune system for the years ahead. These are therefore the best kind of bacteria you can get,"​ Julio Boza Puerta, managing vicedirector at Puleva Biotech, told NutraIngredients.com at Vitafoods earlier this year.

Probiotics are an increasingly popular addition to mainstream foods and are set to more than triple in value in Europe over the next six years, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, reaching $137.9 million (€118.5m) in 2010.

Puleva Biotech registered a 10.7 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to €362,000 for the first quarter of 2004, with a turnover of €1.7 million. Sales in 2003 reached €4.65 million, with a net profit of €1.895 million.

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