Glanbia to distribute US oat ingredient in Europe

Related tags Nutrition

The health ingredients unit of Irish dairy firm Glanbia has taken a
further step to diversify away from milk-based products, adding an
oat beta-glucan to its ingredients range through a new distribution
deal, reports Dominique Patton.

The 54 per cent oat beta-glucan, manufactured by US firm Nurture using a patented process, is said to provide up to 18 times more beta-glucan than regular oats.

It will reach the European market at a time when consumers are showing renewed interest in the traditional food, helped by the recent approval of a cholesterol-lowering health claim by the UK's voluntary health claims body JHCI and similar backing by the Swedish Nutrition Foundation.

Glanbia, one of the leading suppliers of cheese in Europe, is currently reshaping the group to focus on added value areas, including a new Nutritionals unit that supplies the fast-growing health foods and supplement sector.

The firm's portfolio was limited to dairy-based ingredients until the acquisition of Germany's Kortus in December, adding the first non-dairy products - vitamin and mineral premixes. Further acquisitions are expected this year.

Speaking at the Vitafoods exhibition in Geneva yesterday, Avril Twomey, Nutritionals unit marketing manager, said that the high beta-glucan concentration in OatVantage would lead to a wide range of possible applications. Customers can use less of the ingredient to gain the health claim than other oat beta-glucans on the market.

"You only need 1.4g OatVantage to offer 0.75g of beta-glucan. You can 1.4g into two capsules or a 200ml serve juice drink,"​ she told

Glanbia​ claims the product is the first oat beta-glucan to target the dietary supplements sector thanks to this high concentration. It is already used in leading US brands such as GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe.

Product manager Fiona Fagan added that the ingredient can be viewed as "an optimal heart health product"​, with advantages over those compounds that merely target cholesterol reduction. Oats, unlike phytosterols, have also been shown to lower blood pressure and control blood sugar levels, giving the beta-glucan ingredient potential in a low-glycaemic index food.

Future clients may however need to stress the origin of the ingredient rather than the beta-glucan content when marketing their finished products, according to advice issued during the conference yesterday.

Consumer research specialist Linda Gilbert warned the Vitafoods audience in an early seminar that the marketing strategy adopted by leading oat firm Quaker Oats, which sought to educate about the benefits of beta-glucans, had been significantly less successful than the more general approach taken by rival General Mills.

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