The company confirmed it will soon expand the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-fortified product beyond the Scandinavian markets it has thus far concentrated on.
“It’s clear that suddenly there’s a lot going on in this field,” Kalle Leporanta, export manager at Valio dairy innovative concepts and technologies told New Nutrition Business.
“For ten years we have been proving the concept in the Finnish market and we have kept a low profile. But now we are activating ourselves. We have learnt many valuable lessons from building up the international network of licensing agreements for LGG in dairy and that puts us in a good position to work with the juice drink companies and bring them a related but different area of expertise.”
Danone’s recently announced partnership with Swedish probiotic supplier Probi and dairy, Skånemejerier, which looks set to take Skåne’s probiotic juice brand ProViva beyond Scandinavian shores has caused a level of strategic rethinking in the sector, according to industry analysts.
Both ProViva and Gefilus have achieved success on home markets but made little headway elsewhere to date.
But as Probi does for its Lactobacillus plantarum 299v probiotic strain, Valio has global rights for its Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, called LGG.
While the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected an article 13.5 gut health claim for formulations containing LGG, it is yet to evaluate claims specific solely to LGG, which remains one of the most well-researched probiotics strains in the world with more than 500 papers published on it.
Gefilus used to make gut health claims but now states simply a, “strong dose of immunity”.
Gefilus sells at a 100 per cent premium over regular juices in Finland (about €2 per litre) and is also sold in a one-shot format.
While pundits have pointed to the difficult time many probiotic products have had outside of the core platforms of spoonable and drinkable yoghurts, a probiotic juice, Goodbelly, was launched in the US in 2007 by a company established by Steve Demos.
Demos is the man who turned soy milk brand, Silk, into a mainstream player before selling it and the company that made it, White Wave, to Dean Foods in 2002.
Arla Ingman Oy Ab also has a 100 per cent BioGaia-supplied probiotic juice under the Rela brand that has been on-market in Finland since 1999.