Ganeden has developed its proprietary strain of Bacillus coagulans over a period of years, and sold the rights to the ingredient in straight dietary supplements a while back to Schiff Nutrition, now part of Reckitt Benkiser. The ingredient’s strong science portfolio has helped fuel its market uptake. And the robust nature of its spore-forming organism has enabled the company to place the ingredient in a wide variety of food products, including high temperature baked goods. In comparison to some other formlation challenges the company has undertaken, the straw application was fairly straightforward, said Mike Bush, senior vice president of Ganeden.
“There are two other straws with probiotics on the market,” Bush told NutraIngredients-USA. “There is the Unistraw (which also features a Ganeden sku) and the other is a BioGaia straw which is sold as a supplement.”
Ganeden will team with BioGaia’s subsidiary CapAble AB to create the telescoping GanedenBC30 LifeTop Probiotic Straw that can be used in both refrigerated and shelf stable milk or juice boxes, pouches and bottles. The straw will have 1 billion CFU of GanedenBC30 and can be seamlessly applied to Tetra Pak and other shelf stable beverage containers. Bush said the innovation could impact the children’s beverage market, which is growing at a quick clip as parents look for healthy options.
While the organism’s spore-forming nature is a stellar attribute, it still doesn’t make it possible to place it shelf-stable beverages. Those matrices are a bit too close to the gut environment, and germination of the organism and resultant spoilage of the substrate beverage is inevitable. The challenge is so difficult that Bush has called it the ‘holy grail’ of probiotic functional food formulation.
“We know there is a market for adding probiotics to shelf stable beverages because we get calls from potential customers daily asking for it,” Bush said. “There is a tremendous amount of interest. The straw application will allow probiotics to be added to beverages throughout the store.”
The probiotic market is growing enormously, with no indication that it will be slowing down anytime soon. According to research cited by Ganeden, by 2018 the probiotic market is expected to reach $36.7 billion globally, with about $30 billion from functional foods and beverages. Probiotics are quickly becoming a household word, with 93% of today’s consumers being familiar with the term “probiotic” and associating it with good health.
While formulators are excited about the straw idea, how excited are consumers? Bush said the company is optimistic, but sometimes rude surprises await in the real-world market.
“We’ve seen cases where there is ‘perceived market,’ where poeple think there will be a demand for a product and then it launches and there’s not much there,” Bush said.
“We have no consumer research specific to probiotics in straws, but we do have research that shows that consumers are willing to pay up to an extra 20% for a probiotic fortified product. We have a case study in which a protein fortified product was more expensive but it had a 28% greater sell through than the non fortified, cheaper version,” he said.
In addition to the new straw, Ganeden is announcing 15 new product launches featuring its probiotic ingredinet. The launches range from refrigerated juices, teas, soups and a protein powder. The company also anounced another first with the placement of its ingredient into a frozen breakfast burrito.