As more consumers are seeking to make their diets healthier and manufacturers are cutting out unhealthy trans- and saturated fats from their products, the market is opening up for ingredients that could replace those that were previously common-place.
Biolactis' innovation, born out of a decade's research and said by the company to be "a new concept of concentrated culture whey with technological, nutritional and health benefits", looks set to move into this wide-open space.
The company has, in fact, developed three ingredients, the first of which, Nutractis, has received novel foods approval in Canada and it being launched in that market now. It is obtained from the fermentation of pasteurised whey with a probiotic strain of lactic bacteria, isolated from kefir grains. Of 100 percent dairy origin, it incorporates whey proteins and probiotic bacteria and has caused the coining of a new term: lactoceutical.
Nutractis is being offered to food manufacturers based on its functionality as a nutritious, healthy replacement for butter, animal and vegetable gelatin, agar or caragenin that is suitable for use in a broad range of dairy products, nutrition bars, sauces, dressings, soups, bakery and cakes.
However R&D director Eric Trottier told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the company's main goal is is functional foods ingredients, but the regulatory state of play in Canada at the present time makes it difficult to enter that market on any kind of health claim.
The two ingredients in Biolactis' platform that will be specifically marketed for their health benefits are Wheygurt, made from whey with the consistency of yogurt, and a powder called Lipidlactis.
The company is embarking on a program of clinical trials in September to gather evidence for their health benefits, particularly in the area of lipid management. Trottier said that the company already has a lot of clinical data, and is following a pharmaceutical research model in order to ensure its ingredients have solid science to back them up.
To this end, Biolactis has received venture capital funding from Switzerland-based Inventages Venture Capital.
Dr Pierre Lemieux, president and CEO of Biolactis, said: "This is a vote of confidence by our new investor for our approach to health problems associated with poor diet, certain lifestyle habits and aging. Their participation will greatly enhance the development and marketing objectives for our products in fast-growing value-added markets."
Although discussions are already underway with potential partners in Europe and the US, conclusion of these is dependent on the clinical trial results.
In the meantime, the company is working with partners to introduce a butter made with the Nutractis, which has 25 to 40 per cent less fat than regular butter but is also a source of calcium, proteins and amino acids.
The initial release will be through direct market channels. Partners are currently sought to help take the butter to retail.