Danisco said great tasting juices with scientifically documented effects on consumer's health have great commercial potential and that the probiotic strain, Howaru Bifido (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019) is specifically selected for its immune modulating properties, with its benefits supported by clinical studies.
The company said that it has developed two probiotic juice concepts, both containing an effective dose of the Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 strain.
Yogurts and fermented dairy drinks have long been considered an ideal vehicle for delivering probiotic bacteria to the human gastroinstestinal tract which explains the widespread use of probiotic cultures in dairy products but adding probiotics to juices is more complex.
Danisco said that its applications specialists have been working extensively to gain specific expertise in process and formulation in the area of inoculation of the bacteria into juices, and have, by acquiring this real know-how, the supplier will support beverage manufacturers in the development of probiotic juices adpated to their production environment.
Test results have shown that it can obtain a good survival of its probiotic strains in fruit juice over 40 days at 4°C, stated the company.
And, a spokesperson for the company told NutraIngredients.com that though it is currently a niche area, Danisco plans to develop the European market for probiotic juices through collaboration between its formulation experts and its customers.
She added that Danisco is targeting beverage manufacturers worldwide with its probiotic strains for juices.
In September last year, Swedish dairy pioneer, Skånemejerier, extended its Scandinavian-leading juice range, Bravo, to incorporate probiotic strains.
The products, called Bravo Friscus, come in the form of one-litre 100 per cent apple and orange juices cartons and incorporate two probiotic strains that have been clinically proven to resist colds and flus.
Fellow Swedish biotech firm, Probi, is supplying the Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL9 and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 strains used in the products at a level of about 1bn colony forming units (CFUs) per 250ml.
It sells at about €2.50 per one litre carton – a 50 per cent mark-up over regular Bravo juices.
“This is a world first and is the result of 5-7 years of research and development,” Probi chief executive officer, Michael Oredsson, told this publication at the time.
“The products is being sold on its ability to fight colds and there has been a high level of interest with the winter season coming on. We plan to move into other Nordic countries.”
However Finnish dairy, Valio, disputed the claim by Skåne that it was the world's first probiotic 100 per cent juice, noting it had a product called Gefilus on the market since 1997. Gefilus was once marketed on digestive health benefits but now makes broad immunity claims.
Arla Ingman Oy Ab has has a 100 per cent BioGaia-supplied probiotic juice under the Rela brand on-market in Finland since 1999, but employing a soft immunity and nothing as specific as cold-fighting.