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Ajinomoto and Kellogg’s team up on healthier cereals project

By Jane Byrne , 13-Jul-2010
Last updated on 13-Jul-2010 at 11:31 GMT

New product development and reformulation of Kellogg’s existing offering will be the focus of new R&D collaborative project between Ajinomoto and Kellogg’s.

The two companies are aiming to jointly develop products that deliver benefits in the areas of weight management, sugar and salt reduction, said the Tokyo based Ajinomoto, citing its extensive portfolio of ingredients to boost the nutritional profile of products including capsiate and monatin.

"The potential for synergy between Kellogg's strong marketing and product development capabilities combined with Ajinomoto's excellence in basic and applied research is unique and exciting," said the Japanese company’s CEO, Masatoshi Ito Ajinomoto.

A spokesperson for Ajinomoto told BakeryandSnacks.com that, under a confidentiality agreement, both parties will provide mutual proprietary information to move the project forward and that breakfast cereals and cereal bars could be the initial product focus of the R&D alliance.

“We are targeting the US market initially with products in the area of weight management,” she explained.

Ajinomoto, a supplier of amino acids and other ingredietns, is the sole distributor of Kellogg products in Japan and has been looking for food formulation opportunities with food manufacturers for capsiate since it received a letter of no objection from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in regards to the ingredient’s generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in mid 2009.

The manufacturer said its Dihydrocapsiate product shares certain functionality with the pepper-based capsaicin without having its pungency. It maintains that the fat burning effect and metabolism acceleration of capsiate is known to be the same as capsaicin.

The Ajinomoto spokesperson also confirmed that monatin is awaiting regulatory approval and that it is a sweetener from a South African plant that it said to be is non-caloric and 2,000 times sweeter than sucrose.

Pressure to ensure customer taste preferences are continually met for leading breakfast cereal brands is a hindrance to achieving minimal salt levels, and an sector wide push is required to achieve this objective, claims Kellogg's

Earlier this year, Kellogg’s Europe announced a cut in the amount of salt in its Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes by 30 per cent.

Marta Baffigo, director of public affairs for Kellogg’s Europe, told this publication at the time that while the company has long been listening to nutrition policy leaders about the impact of salt reduction it has taken a gradual approach to reformulation so that people do not notice any difference in taste in its well-known breakfast cereal brands.

Kellogg produces two cereals with no added salt, and when asked whether the manufacturer could apply the same formulation across its entire range, Baffigo said it is easier to launch a product onto the market that customers have no established preferences for that it is to reformulate a familiar tasting brand.

She said that the cereal maker has plans to reduce the salt content of its breakfast range even further once it finds an effective replacement ingredient but she argues that the inherent risk in such a move is that its most loyal customers might switch to a rival brand with higher salt content to ensure their taste expectations were met.


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