Dispatches from HIE 2010

Tate & Lyle pulls plug on prebiotic Stalactis Madrid launch

By Ben Bouckley in Madrid

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lyle, Dietary fiber, Tate & lyle

Tate & Lyle has postponed the launch of its new digestive health ingredient Stalactis due to the uncertain EU regulatory environment.

Stalactis was due to be launched at Health Ingredients Europe (HIE) 2010 in Madrid this week, and was even trailed in the official show newssheet. But global marketing and communications director Caroline Sanders told NutraIngredients that Tate & Lyle decided to postpone the launch due to regulatory uncertainty.

“We pulled back because the conditions of use are not very clear.When Tate & Lyle propose an ingredient to customers, we want to be sure that the customer can be sure they can make it work and make a claim, have it claimed on the pack, that it works from an economic and technical function point of view.

“We want to clarify things with the regulators before we move forward with this ​[launch].

Tate & Lyle had planned to present Stalactis in Madrid via a prototype yogurt drink called ‘Enrich’, which is designed to deliver fibre and prebiotic functionality, as well as improve intestinal regularity.

No launch timeline

Sanders added that there is now no definite timeline for Stalactis’ launch, which will reflect Tate & Lyle’s current shift in focus away from commodities such as sugar towards, in her own words, “speciality food ingredients and long-term innovation: sweeteners, texturants, health and wellness”.

Given EU regulatory issues regarding functional ingredients, she said that in regard to its two main business strands, Tate & Lyle is currently busier ‘rebalancing’ products for clients (reducing calories, fat, sugar – benefits that consumers clearly understand) than ‘enriching’ foods functionally.

Fibre revolution

Meanwhile, Tate & Lyle’s versatile polydextrose ingredient Sta-Lite is reaping the rewards of brand repositioning over the past couple to emphasise its fibre content and prebiotic qualities, alongside an earlier focus on calorie reduction (where it is said to have only 1 kcal/g), and low glycemic response.

As a corn derivate Sta-Lite comes in both liquid and powder forms, and can be used in a wide range of food and drinks to provide body and texture, with particularly good technical results in low fat or high-fibre formulations.

“We still define Sta-Lite as a premium, low calorie bulking agent, this still stands,” ​said Sanders. “The focus has moved a bit towards the fibre side, but it’s also excellent for reducing calories and sugar.”

The shift in emphasis had led to increased interest in polydextrose from the bakery sector in particular, she added; indeed one of Tate & Lyle’s product concepts in Madrid was a high-fibre white bread that cuts out the “taste or mouth feel”​ that some consumers dislike in traditional wholegrain varieties.

“Another way to use polydextrose is for rebalancing sugar in cereals,”​ said Sanders. There are several products now in supermarkets with reduced sugar, with manufacturers looking for ways to cut sugar levels – this is a hot topic right now."

New polydextrose dawn

Another boon for EU-based Sta-Lite sales is Tate & Lyle’s new polydextrose line in Koog, The Netherlands, which was completed in July 2010. Sanders said that the new plant had shortened routes to market, cutting costs while enabling Tate & Lyle to work more closely with clients to develop concepts.

“Polydextrose is only produced by Tate & Lyle in Europe, where consumers love non-GM products, and demand them,”​ said​Sanders, adding that before the new line opened, the firm had to ship non-GM ingredients to the US for production before transporting them back to Europe.

The new line has driven a renewed European interest in polydextrose, she said, with tailored liquid and powder solutions blossoming due to Tate & Lyle’s closer relationship with EU clients: “We’re working on breakfast cereals, yogurts, fruit preparations, drinks as well, a lot is going into dairy and bakery."

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