This is the fifth year that PepsiCo is running the programme, where it sought innovations that support health management and personalised wellness from around the globe. In the past four years, the program centred on innovations from Europe and the North America.
Focusing on probiotics, Biosustain Labs has developed four formulations to date, targeting gut health, immune health, as well as weight and cholesterol management.
SymBioCure is the trademark of the probiotic formulations that the company has developed.
Coming in sachet form, none of the formulations has been commercialised at the moment, but through the partnership with PepsiCo, a launch is expected this year.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, co-founder and director of Biosustain, Ajay Kalanjana Monnappa, who is currently a researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid specialising in microbiology, said the first launch was expected to take place in mid-April.
Asked the product function, citing its SymBioCure Weight+ product as an example, he said that it could help inhibit the appetite and reduce visceral fat in the abdomen.
The probiotics strains used in the products include those from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium imported from the US. Monnappa has declined to reveal the exact strain names at this stage.
“Based on the pilot study conducted by our prebiotic provider, it is confirmed to enhance the colonisation of probiotics in the intestines,” he said.
The company plans to first launch its gut and immune health probiotics in India during April.
As part of the Greenhouse Accelerator, the company will be paired with a PepsiCo mentor team, where it will have access to subject matter experts, resources, undergo business training modules.
Other finalists which are also developing probiotic products is ZBiotics from San Francisco.
Creating personalised probiotics is also part of the company’s plans, but this will be dependent on the availability of data.
Ajay said that developing personalised probiotics would be based on consumers’ pre-conditions and the diversity of their gut microbiota.
“This approach will take some more time because it depends on availability of consumer gut microbiota data,” he said.
As a first step, the company plans to apply for government funding for conducting a pilot study that assesses impact of its products on the gut microbiota modulation.
However, before developing personalized products, the company will focus on studying consumers taste and flavour preferences.
Consumer interests driving innovation
PepsiCo said it has decided to focus on functional ingredients, health, and personalised nutrition for the accelerator program as COVID-19 has ignited consumers’ interest in taking control of their personal health.
“There is no question that COVID-19 has renewed consumer interest in taking control of their personal health and wellness, and we continue to explore how this evolves in the food and beverage space.
“Whether it is tracking your fitness, seeking personalised supplements, or using technology to obtain custom health recommendations, a greater interest in personal health and wellness impacts how consumers interact with our products,” Antonio Tataranni, SVP, R&D and Chief Medical Officer, PepsiCo told us.
He added that the company would continue to evaluate opportunities in expand in the area according to consumer trends.
The winner of the program is expected to be announced in June and will be awarded US$100k in funding to support its growth.