One year on from its acquisition of Swedish beta-glucan brand OatWell, DSM talks about entering into new markets and capitalizing on European health claims.
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber in oats known for its heart health benefits and ability to help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol. The fiber hit food industry headlines in recent years when these claims were backed by EFSA and the European Commission under Article 14.
The Dutch-based multinational’s purchase of OatWell from Swedish Oat Fiber (SOF) saw some staff from CreaNutrition, a subsidiary of SOF, moving over with the brand it previously managed to DSM. Ruedi Duss, formerly managing director for CreaNutrition and now global business manager for DSM, was one of those who made the move back in January.
Speaking with BakeryandSnacks.com at the ingredients industry event FiE, Duss said: “DSM has incorporated OatWell to be part of the overall ingredients platform and we have since approached five regions. Apart from Europe you’re talking North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific and China, basically offering OatWell as a solution to heart health, blood sugar response and gut health and to some extent in North America also around satiety.”
Health claim approval
Based on opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission approved oat beta-glucan health claims for cholesterol reduction and the associated reduced risk of developing heart disease in 2011. The fiber also holds claims for digestive health and blood glucose control.
“The heart health claim - the so-called disease reduction claim – was the very first claim related to grains and fibers approved in Europe by the European Union to really compete with sterols and stanols so it has been significant. We see a lot of food and food-related companies being very interested in the benefits and claiming the benefits,” Duss said.
He explained that this interest has not just been limited to Europe but gave an example of a product on the Swiss market as one of the “number of products” introduced since OatWell joined DSM.
“Migros only very recently added to a product family called Friend OatWell a product called Heart Bread and they are going to add another two snacks related to bread and bakery applications early next year,” he said.