Probiotics emerging as key functional food ingredients

by Keith Nunes
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Probiotic products
Development of different varieties targeting key functional food categories is ongoing.
 

KANSAS CITY — While the clean label trend has brought the perception that less is more to the forefront of food and beverage product development, consumers are still interested in products with added ingredients that provide a functional benefit. The benefits consumers are seeking the most include weight management, cardiovascular health, energy, digestive health and immune function, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s (IFIC) 2017 Food & Health Survey.

Breaking down the benefits further, the IFIC survey showed younger adults, those between the ages of 18-34, are most interested in weight management and energy. Older consumers, those between 65-80, are most interested in weight management, cardiovascular health and digestive health.

Ingredient suppliers specializing in probiotics are developing new ingredients targeting many of the functional benefits where consumers have expressed an interest. While the effect of probiotics on digestive health is well documented, researchers are developing probiotics that address other health conditions.

For example, this past May DuPont Nutrition & Health, St. Louis, introduced Howaru Shape, a probiotic formula the company said is clinically proven to reduce waist circumference in overweight adults. When combined with the company’s prebiotic fiber Litesse Ultra, the company said study data showed a reduction in fat mass and trunk fat among research subjects.

 

Ganeden, a probiotics ingredient manufacturer based in Cleveland, recently introduced Staimune, an ingredient that utilizes the cells of the probiotic GanedenBC30 to support immune health, according to the company.

The ingredient is officially labeled as “inactivated Bacillus coagulens GBI-30, 6086.” Staimune is considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration and may be formulated into functional food and beverages, including shelf-stable beverages and high-water-activity products.

The company said Staimune provides an option for product developers that want to focus specifically on immune health and those with processes that cause formulation challenges for live probiotics. With an inclusion rate of 50 mg, the ingredient does not alter the flavor or texture profiles of finished goods, according to the company

“After seeing the impressive immune supporting benefits of GanedenBC30, we decided to dive further into the mechanism of action,” said Michael Bush, president and chief executive officer of Ganeden. “We discovered and ultimately patented this novel ingredient, which provides the opportunity to share the immune benefits of the probiotic in product formats that do not support the use of the live organism.”

With regards to heart health, UAS Labs, L.L.C., Wausau, Wis., offers Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, which is sold under the brand name LRC. The ingredient supports the body’s ability to eliminate cholesterol and maintain the normal amount of cholesterol the body produces, according to the company.

The ingredient is effective because it produces an enzyme called bile salt hydrolase that breaks apart bile acids. The bile acids are made by the liver from cholesterol and are released into the intestine with the purpose of transporting dietary fat and cholesterol into the circulatory system. As bile acids are deconjugated by LRC in the intestines, dietary and biliary cholesterol absorption is normalized and the recirculation of bile is altered resulting in support of LDL-C levels in blood, the company said.

The ingredient may be used in such food and beverage applications as yogurt, fruit juices, chocolate, cheese, frozen dairy desserts and fats and oils. It is self-affirmed GRAS in the United States.

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