Finnish dairy and ingredients giant Valio has inked a deal with major Norwegian food and drink maker Tine to license its LGG probiotic strain in Tine’s Biola juice range.
“This makes Biola Fruit different to regular fruit drinks and juices,” Tine said on its website.
“The importance of healthy flora in the stomach is studied today in many research studies, and Biola bacterium is currently the most extensively studied in scientific studies.”
Tine also manufactures a fermented milk version containing the LGG probiotic along with fibre.
Valio has used LGG (Lactobacillus rhamnosus) in its own juice brand, Gefilus, since 1997, and recently added vitamins to continue claim-making after the European Union ban on prebiotic and probiotic health claims.
LGG is sold in about 60 countries and is mostly found in dairy products, food supplements, infant foods as well as some juice products.
Juicey probiotic potential
Valio has long targeted expansion of the probiotic juice category that includes Skånemejerier’s ProViva in Sweden (probiotics supplied by Swedish supplier, Probi) and GoodBelly in the US.
Gefilus typically sells at a 100 per cent premium over regular juices in Finland (about €2 per litre) and is also sold in a one-shot format. It also sells in Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Arla Ingman Oy Ab also has a 100 per cent BioGaia strain-supplied probiotic juice under the Rela brand that has been on-market in Finland since 1999.
Kalle Leporanta, director of technology sales at Valio, told us the EU claims blockade had created a market that continued to grow, albeit, “slowly”.
“In the EU no claims directly related to the probiotic strain are allowed,” Leporanta said. “In many cases claims used are based on vitamins.”
Globally Valio has 16 dairy license agreements for LGG, “and on top of that some 20 trademark agreements on the use of our LGG trademarks in food supplements and infant foods.”