DSM backs innovations with consumer insight

Related tags Dsm food specialties Probiotic

A company's ability to communicate the advantages of a product can
be critical to its eventual success, a lesson that DSM Food
Specialties has clearly taken to heart.

The company was at the International Food Technologists (IFT) conference last week to unveil a number of new ingredient solutions, with product communication forming a central part of the firm's business plan.

"There has been less take-up of probiotics in the US compared to Europe, but we foresee huge growth here, in dairy and in other sectors,"​ DSM Food Specialties probiotics food product manager Ralph Loekkoek told FoodNavigator-USA.com​.

"This market will be worth $468 million in 2009, with 100 per cent annual growth. "

As a result, DSM Food Specialties is introducing its probiotic LAFTI strains in North America. The three strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus LAFTI L10, Bifidobacterium lactis LAFTI B94 and Lactobacillus casei LAFTI L26 have each been chosen for their suitability in food applications.

The company is backing up the launch with academic studies and the results of clinical trials.

"Consumers are looking for claims, and they want to be sure about a product,"​ said Koekkoek. "We have lots of science on our products, and have put lots of effort into our probiotics to achieve the right strains."

The success of the roll-out is essentially about communication. American consumers have been far more reticent about consuming 'good bacteria' than Europeans.

But by marketing products such as Danavtive as containing 'living cultures,' DSM has found a way of communicating the health benefits of bacteria in a user-friendly manner.

The firm also used the IFT exhibition last week to launch Maxapal A2, a yeast-based enzyme that can be used to modify egg yolks and give egg-based products superior emulsion properties.

For US food makers, this yeast-based enzyme offers the critical advantage of being heat-stable to 80 degrees, unlike untreated egg yolk-based products. This allows products such as mayonnaise to be pasteurized, ensuing higher microbial safety and a longer shelf life.

In addition, by converting the lecithin in eggs into lysolecithin, maxapal A2 helps produce an emulsion with high viscosity. This means that less oil is required to achieve the specified finished product, opening the door to "lite" and "lower fat" products.

Finally, DSM Food Specialties has also developed Fabuless, a weight management system that food makers can easily incorporate into dairy applications such as yogurt, milk or slimming shakes.

For food makers, one of the key attractions to this new product is that the ingredients are entirely natural, which means that any products are not subject to lengthy regulatory approval procedures. The system works by encapsulating particles of palm oil in oats, which are then formulated in a novel emulsion.

The slow digestion of the oat fraction enables Fabuless to penetrate deeply into the intestinal system.

"It works by making you feel full,"​ said DSM Food Specialties weight management business manager Rob Minnee.

"This means that it passes through the gut and does not get digested until the end. This sends a message to the brain that you are full."

The effect, claims Minnee, lasts for six to eight hours, meaning that you do not graze throughout the day.

In addition, there are few labeling concerns for manufacturers; the palm oil can be simply labeled in the ingredients panel as vegetable oil. It is the clever use of microencapsulation that enables the ingredients to take on functional properties.

"This will work because we can easily communicate both the function and the ingredients to the consumer,"​ said Minnee.

"Before we launched the product we undertook some consumer research to discover how best to explain how the product works, and we found that if we got the basic things right - if you eat this then you won't feel full - then we could link the product to the customer."

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