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Chr Hansen claims long-life probiotic beverage breakthrough

By Shane Starling , 14-Dec-2012

Chr Hansen claims long-life probiotic beverage breakthrough

After 20 failed starts, probiotics leader Chr Hansen says it has finally found an ingredient dispensing cap partner that can handle the demands of high speed filling utilised by the world’s biggest beverage manufacturers.

Chr Hansen has gone public with its intention to launch long-life probiotic drinks like functional waters and UHT dairy products using caps supplied by Irish specialist Fresh Beverages International (FBI).

The two companies have been working together for about 18 months before coming to market with one year, shelf-stable prototypes utilising a patented, excipient blend of Chr Hansen’s Bifidobacterium BB-12 strain.  

User friendly, industry friendly

Lars Bredmose, marketing director in probiotic cultures at Chr Hansen, told us this morning the Danish giant had for many years sought to find a cap partner that could survive the rigours of mass production of various beverage types. It had had contact with about 20 cap manufacturers, all with fruitless results.

“This cap doesn’t have these fragile aluminium parts which characterised all the other caps. Those aluminium parts have been necessary for stability of something like probiotics. This design does that but with only plastic parts.”

“That’s the novelty about it. It is easy to apply in these high-speed filling lines. It’s user friendly and it’s industry friendly. There have been a lot of product failures in this area where up to 50% of production runs have failed because they have been breached.”

“We have wanted to enter this segment for years but we have been able to find a cap partner. That is why we chose FBI at this point in time.”

Bredmose said UHT (ultra-heat temperature) dairy drink makers, coconut waters and still beverages were all target markets.

The BB-12 has been modified with sugar excipients but its cost point was similar to its other probiotic strains, volumes depending.

Decade of refinement

Fresh Beverages International managing director James McCormack said a decade of refinement had produced the patented, symmetrical cap that had passed testing at 300bpm.

However the sullied reputation of the cap sector has held the firm back, McCormack said, and the cap’s only major debut to date is in a green tea product in Japan. There are also some niche products in the US.

“The technology is available for all kinds of ingredients but we see probiotics as the holy grail so this partnership is very significant. We have also received backing from the Irish government to develop the best ingredients to put in the cap. Probiotics came top of the list.”

McCormack said while testing had delivered guaranteed shelf-life of 12 months, more was possible with the Shinsen Cap, as it is called.

Other players in the cap area include Tap The Cap – which claims a host of applications.

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