Ganeden supplies an ingredient branded as Ganeden BC30, a form of bacillus coagulans, a spore forming organism. That feature of the organism—its robust, stable inert phase—has enabled the company to place the ingredient in a dizzying array of foods and beverages. The applications have ranged far from the dairy aisle, the typical haunt of probiotic ingredients in foods and beverages. Now Ganeden is accelerating the move to expand its reach beyond its comfort zone, the North American market.
“A lot of our effort lately has been on international approvals,” Mike Bush, senior vice president of Ganeden told FoodNavigator-USA at the recent SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV.
Ganeden has recently received approval in a number of new markets. The company announced approvals in Japan, India, Taiwan and the Philippines. This goes with an earlier approval in Mexico, which the company announced in September.
Bush said the approval process is different in each country. The whole effort adds up to a significant investment, with some countries soaking up more of that investment than others.
“Some of the approvals are super complicated take years and cost lots of money. Brazil, for example. We have been working on Brazilian approval for six years. Anvisa (the Brazilian national food authority) has some apparent system issues. You submit an approval and you never know where you are in the process. We have submitted 1,200 pages of documentation,” Bush said.
“Mexico on the other hand was a good approval—relatively painless. The interest in Latin America in probiotics is very high,” Bush said.
Mexican obesity crisis
The health benefits of Ganeden’s ingedient fit into the current health climate in Mexico, Bush said. The country has seen a rising tide of obesity and now ranks as the most obese country in the world as of 2013, with 32.8% of the adult population classified as obese. The government has instituted a number of programs to combat the issue, Bush said.
“The Mexican government has health programs to reduce obestity and with that they want to promote gut health. They want food companies to make their products healthier,” Bush said.
One of the issues often cited in the rising tide of obesity in the US, Mexico and elsewhere is the high amount of sugar-sweetened beverages than modern consumers take in. In January the Mexican government enacted a tax on soft drinks in an effort to restrict their consumption. Also mentioned in this rising tide is the greater proportion of prepared foods in the modern shopping basket. Bush said he believes that probiotics can play a role in making those foods healthier.
“Food is sterile now and it didn’t use to be. A lot of the probiotics on the market were isolated from the environment. I grew up on a farm and we didn’t even have a place to wash our hands outside and we were never sick,” Bush said.
Climbing the shelf stable mountain
Ganeden has now successfully placed its ingredient in baked goods, confections, refrigerated juices and even in tea and instant coffee. One area that the company is still seeking to penetrate is the shelf stable beverage market. With traditional probiotics a formulator couldn’t dream of adding them to a beverage and still have a drinkable product at the end of its shelf life. But Ganeden’s ingredient, with its robust cysts, has more flexibility in terms of germination conditions. The technology is not there yet to allow such an includion, but Bush said the company is getting closer.
“We know it can survive high pressure processing (HPP),” Bush said. But, given the right germination conditions—moisture, something to feed on, and a conducive temperature and pH—any probiotic organism will wake up and start feeding on the available substrate, and that includes Ganeden’s ingredient, Bush said. The company is looking at various approaches to solve the problem, including possible encapsulation schemes, he said.