Venture firm the Circle Group has bought Fiber-Gel, the owner of the worldwide licensee to carbohydrate-based fat replacer Z-Trim.
Fiber-Gel Technologies is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UTEK, a US company involved in business development for laboratory developed technologies.
Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, Z-Trim is a fibre made from the hulls of oats, soybeans, peas and rice or bran from corn or wheat. It can be used to replace fat and calories in a variety of products, including reduced-calorie cheeses, baked goods, salad dressings and confectionery.
"It's called Z-Trim because it has zero calories," said Z-Trim inventor George E. Inglett, senior research scientist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service. "Z-Trim absorbs water and can be texture matched to a wide variety of foods to reduce calories and fat while increasing fibre content."
The target market for Z-Trim includes dairy products, bakery and cereal, confectionery, pasta and rice, snack foods, meats and nutritional beverages.
While not yet available for commercial use, Circle Group intends to gain GRAS status for Z-Trim from the US Food and Drug. The business also said it will use its contacts within the food industry to begin marketing Z-Trim immediately.
Circle Group CEO and chairman Gregory Halpern said: " Z-Trim is quite possibly the best opportunity we have seen to date. I am very excited about Z-Trim's potential and its marketability."