Danisco has launched the first of two new probiotic bacteria cultures which it claims can help boost the human immune system.
The culture, called HOWARU, was created by Danisco Specialities in collaboration with scientists from Australia and New Zealand, where the Danish group acquired the Germantown ingredients company.
Danisco Specialities focuses on the development of dairy cultures and other speciality products, and in 2001 it acquired the licences for the production and marketing of the two probiotic cultures developed by Fonterra Research Centre (NZDRI) and NZMP in New Zealand.
The dairy industry in Australia and New Zealand has developed rapidly over the last few years, and Danisco is keen to increase its activities in the sector there. The Danish group is already the world's largest supplier of functional ingredients to dairies and other industries.
The first product, which will be marketed primarily in Europe and the United States, is called HOWARU Bifido.
"Probiotic cultures play an important role in improving our resistance to infection. The term probiotic means 'for life' and is derived from the Greek/Latin word 'pro' and the Greek word 'bios'. A yoghurt containing one of these cultures will, in more than one way, be a natural contribution to a healthy breakfast," said Danny O'Regan, who is in charge of Danisco's work with bacteria cultures for dairy and other products.
"Most things relating to health, or to the workings of the body, tend to be complicated. This unfortunately also includes the scientific names of probiotic strains. Consumers still tend to be confused by these names which can make it difficult for them to distinguish between good strains and less beneficial ones. To help make this distinction a little easier, we have designed the user-friendly brand HOWARU," O'Regan explained.
"We've already introduced HOWARU Bifido to a number of large European dairy companies, and the product has been met with noticeable acclaim," he said, adding that the expected the series of HOWARU cultures to generate double-digit sales in Danish krone terms by as early as next year.
"The National Institutes of Health in the US has included one of the HOWARU Bifido immune studies in its annual publication which highlights significant advances in dietary supplement research. This accolade also highlights the most important benefit of the strain - i.e. the high quality immune studies that support it," said O'Regan.