Kemin breaks into functional beverage market with dispersible form of algal immune health ingredient

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Design Cells
©Getty Images - Design Cells

Related tags Algae Beta glucan microalgae Immune health functional beverage

Ingredient supplier Kemin Industries is looking to further tap into the thriving functional beverage market with a water dispersible form of its BetaVia immune health ingredient.

The base form of BetaVia is derived from the cell walls of Euglena gracilis​ algae and supplies more than 95% beta1,3 glucans.  Euglena gracilis​ is a freshwater alga, capable of conducting photosynthesis or feeding heterotrophically, i.e., utilizing feedstocks in the absence of sunlight.

Kemin’s fermentation process using the proprietary strain of algae, Euglena gracilis​ ATCC PTA-123017, is patent protected.  The company claims it can be tweaked to provide beta-glucan at concentrations from 50% to greater than 95%.  The company claims the BetaVia ingredient is the highest concentration beta-glucan on the market.

Pilot study on immune health benefits

The fiber’s versatility was recently been put to the test in a pilot study​ that reported the intake of two strains of beta glucans could lower cytokine storm and coagulopathy biomarkers in COVID-19 patients.

The mild symptoms of COVID-19 involve fever, cough or runny nose, but cytokine storm and coagulopathy have been linked to the onset of severe cases of COVID-19.

Beta 1,3 glucans are naturally insoluble, which makes formulating them for drink mixes, sachets or other applications that require water dispersion challenging.  Kemin claims its new forms, dubbed BetaVia Pure WD and BetaVia Complete WD, address those obstacles.

Growing interest in algae

Kemin claims global demand for foods from algae is growing. The  company cites data from Vantage Market Research that shows that the global algae market forecasted to reach USD $36 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5% from 2022 to 2028.

“We are pleased to introduce BetaVia Pure WD and BetaVia Complete WD, our newest health solutions that address typical formulation challenges with enhanced ability to stay suspended in water,” ​said Chris Sadewasser, Global Product Manager, Kemin Human Nutrition and Health. “The rising interest in nutritious, functional and sustainable ingredients for food and dietary supplements makes algae a more attractive option. BetaVia, with proven safety and efficacy for immune health, meets that demand for natural, science-based functional ingredients.” 

Kemin claims that in addition to the new functional beverage applications, BetaVia can work in a variety of applications, including tablets, capsules, gummies, chews and soft gels.

“Algae’s versatility—combined with its unparalleled sustainability—makes it a prime solution for the issues facing today's existing global food supply chain,”​ said Sadewasser.

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