Shelf-stable and local trials: Kerry outlines plans for its APAC probiotics business

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kerry said it would conduct local clinical studies in APAC to continue developing ingredients that are effective for local populations. ©iStock
Kerry said it would conduct local clinical studies in APAC to continue developing ingredients that are effective for local populations. ©iStock

Related tags: Probiotics, Kerry, APAC

Incorporating probiotics into new applications and conducting local clinical research are among Kerry's plans to beef up its APAC probiotics businesses.

Within APAC, the Irish-headquartered company is already supplying probiotics for manufacturers in China, India, Singapore, Thailand and Japan, with product applications spanning across juice, tea, whey protein powder, and sachet. 

Developing probiotics for use in different applications is especially crucial in APAC, due to climate restrictions.

“The challenges in APAC surround temperature humidity and refrigerated supply chain. When we talk to customers across APAC, we talk about new ways to deliver probiotics in different formats that are very stable

“(We will show that) working with our probiotics enable to work in certain applications and temperature, which opens up new potential in Asia,” ​Brian Nevin, business development director for Kerry APAC told NutraIngredients-Asia ​in an interview. 

Producing probiotics for new applications also gives the company a competitive edge over others, since many probiotics in the region come in dairy forms.

“The majority of the probiotics (in APAC) would be found in refrigerated dairy sectors, so our strategy is to go beyond dairy and to enter areas where conventional probiotics would not be able to survive.

“We use the unique properties in our GanedenBC30​ probiotics to deliberately not compete with the conventional probiotics in the market and to differentiate ourselves into different applications,” ​he added.

GanedenBC30  ​is a spores-forming bacteria which is heat stable when key factors such as temperature, water activity and nutrient availability are kept under specific controls.

“The spores have inherent temperature stability and are suited for many product formats because they are already stable,” ​Dr Don Cox, director of R&D, GanedenBC30 ​said.

“By manipulating the characteristics of the probiotic that we work with, we have the opportunity to address some of the concerns around temperature stability.

“For example, if we chill a beverage, then GanedenBC30 ​will be stable for a long term because it is a spore, whereas the typical vegetative cell might die off overtime.

“Similarly, when we keep the water activity below a certain level, then the spore remains dormant and stable, while a typical probiotic might grow under those conditions,” ​Cox explained. 

He added that as the market develops, new product formats “will absolutely be available”,​ such as probiotics in dried fruit, snacks, nuts, powdered beverages, hot beverages, bread, and cereals etc.

Local clinical studies

Kerry will conduct local clinical studies to continue developing science-backed ingredients that are effective for local populations.

“Focus on science-backed ingredient and we will not only continue to do clinical research here in North America, but also to extend our research project to encompass population within Asia.

“This is to further support the business and interest our customers in those countries to work with our probiotics. Clinical research (is needed) to demonstrate product efficacy, so that we continue to have science-backed ingredients,”​ Cox said.

The firm currently has an active research program that looks at producing new probiotics with unique attributes and there are plans to develop new probiotics that fit business demands.

One potential research area is to demonstrate the efficiency of the company’s probiotics in local diet, since typical Asian diets differ from the typical western diets.

“There is essential differences in the food that we eat and (we need to know) how this may affect the digestive health of the local population in APAC.

“Part of what we will do to position our probiotic is to conduct research studies on local population… (and using) significant additional capability of Kerry to produce products that are specifically designed for the region,” ​Nevin added.

By building the firm’s expertise in nutrition, probiotics will be one of the key ingredients that the firm will focus on, he stressed.

“We see the APAC tremendous opportunity for GanedenBC30 ​and other probiotics because there is a significant growth and awareness of digestive health products, including probiotics.”

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