ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Almond butter, cheddar cheese and cold brew coffee are among dozens of new products fortified with probiotics that were on display at Natural Products Expo West, held March 10-13 in Anaheim. Ganeden, a Cleveland-based developer of probiotic ingredients, partnered with top companies to debut more than 60 items infused with its patented GanedenBC30 probiotic.
Ganeden’s signature strain is free of gluten, soy, dairy and bioengineered ingredients, and may be used in vegan and organic products. Products containing GanedenBC30 surpassed $1 billion in sales at retail in 2015, according to the company.
Probiotics were identified as one of the hottest product trends at Expo West. Maryellen Molyneaux, president and managing partner of the Natural Marketing Institute, said during a presentation that 42% of consumers want more probiotics in their diets, up from 12% in 2008. Ganeden’s own research found more than 70% of consumers prefer to consume probiotics in a food or beverage product rather than in a supplement, and 40% to 54% are willing to pay more for such products.
Michael Bush, senior vice-president of Ganeden and executive board president for the International Probiotics Association, said he sees no slowdown in global demand for probiotic-fortified foods and beverages.
“The U.S. is the fastest growing probiotic market,” he told Food Business News. “There’s more of an established market in Europe and Asia, but it’s more yogurt-oriented, so we’re starting to get some products that are shelf-stable internationally.”
More than 400 food and beverage products on the market contain GanedenBC30, which achieved GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. GanedenBC30 is highly stable through a range of processing techniques, including baking and high-pressure pasteurization (H.P.P.).
“H.P.P. was kind of a big thing for us over the past year,” Mr. Bush said.
When formulating with GanedenBC30, the company must determine the proper inclusion so that the CFU (colony-forming unit) count is precise at the point of consumption.
“As an example, for a breakfast burrito, we test for BC30 after it’s been frozen, then microwaved,” Mr. Bush said. “If we’re shooting for a billion CFU spec, it’s a billion at the time of consumption, not at the time of manufacture.”
Ganeden also will perform random tests of products formulated with its probiotic after they have debuted on shelves.
“We’ll just go to the grocery store and buy it and make sure what’s supposed to be there is there, and if it’s not, we’ll call the customer and say, ‘We’ve got to look at this or that,’” Mr. Bush said. “They like that we’re watching out for them, and we’re watching out for ourselves. Most companies in the probiotic world will do a formulation, and away they go. We’re putting our name and logo on these products; we don’t want somebody to grab a product that says it’s supposed to have 2 billion CFUs in it and it only has 100 million.”
To support further development of food and beverage products featuring probiotics, Ganeden recently launched its Probiotic Innovation Jumpstart program, inviting scientists, entrepreneurs and inventors to submit ideas for product concepts formulated with GanedenBC30. Categories of interest include snacks, beverages, cereals, sports nutrition and baked foods. The winner will be awarded $25,000 in support to use the GanedenBC30 probiotic in the product, plus guidance and expertise in developing and launching the product.
“We’ve had a lot of interest here from companies coming in and saying, ‘We’d love to participate in this,’” Mr. Bush said. “It’s fun, and it’s just generally our way to give back to the industry because a lot of companies we have worked with were entrepreneurial companies, and now they are big companies. We want to help see if we can find the next one.”