Polyphenols are chemical substances found in foods such as cocoa, nuts, teas and berries. They have various health benefits because they act as antioxidants, protecting cells and body chemicals against damage. The two companies, which have so far had a supplier-customer relationship - say the collaboration will add value to their current operations in beverage production and ingredients development respectively. As part of Chr Hansen's NutriPhy range, polyphenols are extracted and made into a water soluble powder for use in other applications, such as for nutritional supplements. For Chr Hansen to produce sufficient quantities of the powder, it needs a large supply of the raw materials. As the producer of the juice drink range JOKK, Norrmejerier has access to copious amounts of polyphenol-packed berries. In producing the drinks, the skin and the seed of the berries are left over, and it is this that Chr Hansen needs to extract the healthy chemicals. Anna-Karin Karlsson, marketing and innovation manager for Norrmejerier, told FoodNavigator.com:"The collaboration with CH is mainly to investigate the possibility to use polyphenol extracts from our berries in new product applications." The extracts will also be available to other food and dietary supplement manufacturers. Normerjerier gets its wide variety of berries from areas of wilderness in places such as Northern Sweden and Lapland. Some of the berries in focus are lingonberry, bilberry and cranberry, with more to follow. Sami Sassi, business development manager at Chr Hansen, said: "Norrmejerier has their own press to guarantee a high quality of the final product, and Chr. Hansen has the technical know-how to extract polyphenols. We also have a strong base of research and development in the field combined with expert application knowledge. All in all a strong platform for developing more and new value added products." The health benefits associated to polyphenols have been linked to an increased demand in berries. UK sales of blueberries, for example, are reported to have rocketed by 130 per cent in the last two years. In this same time period, raspberry sales are said to have grown by 62 per cent, and strawberry sales have increased by 34 per cent. Karlsson said: "Consumers are quite health focused and willing to try new products. Berries have a naturally healthy image. Healthy antioxidants from the NutriPhy range make it easier to develop new and wholesome products."