Speaking to us at the Food Ingredients Asia show in Bangkok, vice president Jason Food said he was also hopeful it would secure self-affirmed GRAS status in the US by the end of the year.
The firm, which will feature at our forthcoming Probiota Asia summit in Singapore, said around 150 products currently contained LAC-Shield, the vast majority being in Japan.
Morinaga received halal accreditation for the product last month and hopes it will help drive sales in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East, in particular.
LAC-shield is a heat-killed strain Lactobacillus bacteria (Lactobacillus paracasei MCC1849) that has been clinically shown to have immune-enhancing benefits.
And because it has been pasteurised, it does not pose the stability issues of traditional probiotics making it suitable for a broad range of functional food products.
“LAC-Shield is unique because it can be added to a wide range of foods and beverages in which conventional probiotics can’t survive. This high level of versatility has helped us achieve great success in the Japanese market,” said Dr Fumiaki Abe, general manager of Morinaga’s Food Ingredients & Technology Institute.
Morinaga says it screened a number of probiotic strains to select the one with the highest potential to enhance the immune system.
The firm points to a recent human clinical study Kyushu Women’s University, which examined the effect of LAC-Shield on the common cold in 241 healthy women, as evidence of its immunity benefits.
Participants were randomized to receive either LAC-Shield (10 billion or 30 billion cells) or placebo powder every day for 12 weeks. Subjective symptoms of the common cold — such as cough, sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, headache, malaise, and fever — were recorded every day for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, LAC-Shield (at 10 billion cells) significantly reduced the incidence of the common cold, the total number of days symptoms lasted, and symptom severity score.
Another human clinical study on LAC-Shield was conducted by Dr. Michio Murayama of Tanashi Hospital among of 42 elderly subjects living in nursing homes.
It found that supplementation with LAC-Shield increased the efficacy of the influenza vaccination in participants by enhancing immune response.
“Pasteurised bacteria can be expected only the direct effect, however, we see massive potential in LAC-Shield for its immune enhancing effect and application diversity,” said Dr Abe.
“We are very excited about the high level of interest we have already received in overseas markets. Now we will accelerate our global sales of this unique product, which can be used in a wide variety of food and beverage applications.”
The company was showcasing at FI Asia how it could be used for bakery, snacks, soups and confectionery, in addition to dairy and juice-based goods.
Foo said this showed the potential for probiotics to develop across the functional food space in APAC, but called on companies to work together to persuade governments to create a more favourable regulatory environment.
The Probiota series is growing, and in October 2017, Singapore will host the first ever Probiota Asia event. Building on the success of the annual global Probiota and Probiota Americas events, Probiota Asia will focus exclusively on this high growth market and the challenges it faces. Register here.