COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — Danisco has agreed to acquire an equity stake in GraceLinc Ltd., a New Zealand company that produces and markets Glucagel, a naturally-extracted barley beta-glucan that is soluble dietary fiber. The purchase is the start of a partnership that aims to make Glucagel a leading functional food and dietary supplement ingredient.

Danisco plans to move to full ownership of GraceLinc, a start-up company, when certain milestones, such as those in human intervention studies and process development, are met.

Glucagel may be used in such applications as baked foods, nutrition bars, beverages, dairy products and dietary supplements. The ingredient’s potential benefits include cardiovascular health, digestive health and glucose and weight management.

Food products containing Glucagel are on the market in Europe.

"We are delighted to seize this early stage opportunity," said Fabienne Saadane-Oaks, president of Danisco Bio Actives. "Becoming a GraceLinc shareholder is a further step toward becoming our customers’ first choice ingredient partner within health and nutrition. It will at the same time strengthen our leading position in specialty carbohydrates.

"Glucagel is a very innovative beta-glucan ingredient because it has a high purity and is easy to formulate without affecting taste or odor of the foods to which it is added."

Paddy Boyle, chairman of GraceLinc, said, "Together with Danisco, Glucagel has the potential to become a leader in the ingredient category, and we are also pleased that Danisco’s investment will benefit New Zealand’s export business."