Key Interview: Ganeden Looks for Probiotic Opportunities Beyond Digestive Health

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09 Jun 2017 --- Consumers increasingly self-diagnose and experiment with diets that they believe will improve gut health. These personalized diets are creating new opportunities for free from and fortification. Innova Market Insights has reported +25% CAGR from 2012 to 2016 for food & beverage launches with a digestive health positioning, with probiotics benefiting. In fact there was a +30% CAGR in new products featuring the word “probiotic” during this period, despite the term currently not being allowed in EU markets.

“Globally, the probiotic industry continues to grow and impress. There’s more and more evidence coming out showing additional uses for probiotics – not just general uses, but more specific uses, such as strains that work specifically for kidney health, or strains that are being studied for cardiovascular health, or cholesterol,” says Michael Bush, President & CEO of probiotic ingredient supplier Ganeden, and also Executive Board President of the International Probiotics Association. “So globally, as an industry and as a trade association, we are very encouraged by the work being done clinically as well as the market acceptance, support and ongoing growth in the industry everywhere we go.” In a detailed interview with NutritionInsight he discusses challenges and opportunities in the probiotic market and their latest innovations.

Ganeden continues to pave the way for scientific advancements and research in the probiotic ingredient space. The international leader in probiotic technology announced that two recent studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals, bringing the total number to 26. The research shows that Ganeden’s patented, shelf-stable probiotic strain, GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), provides added benefits when combined with other functional ingredients such as plant proteins or HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate).

Click to EnlargeGaneden has also used its patented probiotic strain to develop an immune health ingredient: Staimune. The new ingredient utilizes the cell of the probiotic GanedenBC30 to support immune health, at cost effective inclusion levels. Available later this summer, Ganeden anticipates Staimune to be an industry-changing development.

Officially identified as “Inactivated Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086,” Staimune’s ease of formulation opens up new opportunities in functional foods and beverages – most importantly in shelf-stable beverages and high-water-activity products. Staimune is FDA GRAS, non-GMO, organic compliant and kosher, making it extremely accessible for use in a vast amount of applications. 

Staimune provides the option for manufacturers that want to focus specifically on immune health, and for those with processes that cause formulation challenges for live probiotics. With an inclusion rate of just 50mg, Staimune does not alter the flavor or texture profiles of finished goods. This allows for easy application into a large number of product categories. Staimune will be available for formulation starting in the summer of 2017.

“We see the market from a global perspective continuing to grow at a rate of +7% each year. As the probiotic market evolves and matures and goes beyond just digestive health, we’re starting to see opportunities in the immune health space. The immune market is one that is pretty robust, so we’ve recently launched a new ingredient that is the inactivated cells of our probiotic. It’s not actually a probiotic, but is derived from the probiotic and has been shown to provide immune benefits.”

“The cells in Staimune are no longer alive, so one benefit is that the ingredient can be formulated into  products where probiotics simply can’t go. GanedenBC30 is shelf stable, but for various reasons, it can’t survive in certain products such as shelf stable beverages or high-water-activity products. Staimune allows us to enter into new markets that we’ve never been able to enter before, especially internationally where refrigerated shipping is not the norm,” he says. Bush notes a good deal of interest from CPG companies in the new ingredient already, so we can expect to see products with Staimune in the next quarter.

Click to EnlargeBush notes that the company has done a great deal of work in getting GanedenBC30 approved, and since these are the inactivated cells of the strain, there are no regulatory barriers standing in the way. “It's received FDA GRAS status in the US, and the organism itself is already approved for use in most countries around the world,” he notes. “To put it into perspective, two years ago we shipped to four or five countries and this year, as of the end of May, we've shipped to 48 countries.”

Are there no marketing challenges involved in promoting a product made from dead cells though? “From a consumer understanding perspective, inactivated cells are pretty common in various parts of the world. We believe there will be some learning curve there, but we don't see it as a hurdle that's insurmountable. We have lots of IP around this space, so we're in pretty good shape,” he replies.

But what about other market opportunities for the company’s products? For Bush, most really revolve around the clinical work they’re doing. “Over the last several years, we have conducted 10-12 sports nutrition studies looking at things like protein utilization, muscle recovery and power output. And those studies have now allowed us to support a protein utilization claim with GanedenBC30,” he explains. “So our various science innovations have really been the market opportunity drivers for us. We like to stay ahead of the curve and make sure we have solid ongoing science. The studies we do obviously help us support claims and market strategies. Rather than just coming up with new ideas, we  vet the research first. Once it is proven, then we go to market with new ingredients or claims.”

And what about Ganeden’s expansion plans going forward? “We continue to explore a variety of growth avenues. Business is growing at an exceptional rate and has been for a number of years. At this point, we have a variety of options on the table; whether it’s adding new ingredients to the portfolio or additional team members.We've started our international expansion by placing Ganeden staff members in China, Thailand and Mexico, and we will more than likely be adding some in Europe within the next 12 months,” he says. 

Ganeden’s ingredient business came into being in 2008 and it’s been right on track all along. “We’ve been doubling in size every two years and we see that continuing. The US market is our strongest at this point, but  the Asian market has also been growing very quickly; Japan, China and India are all looking positive for us with many opportunities; so we are looking forward to continually expand that business,” he concludes.

A detailed interview with Michael Bush will appear in the July/August issue of The World of Food Ingredients

By Robin Wyers & Lucy Gunn

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