The company introduced the fibre last year, and it is already being used in functional foods on the market. But marketing manager Pedro Arenas told NutraIngredients.com that it until now it was not suitable for use in milk products, as these require ingredients to have a pH close to neutral.
"We developed the new process to adapt to a new kind of business," he said.
The company is collaborating with food companies to design product applications, and but Arenas was not able to identify them for contractual reasons.
Natraceutical has filed a global patent on the alkalization technology.
The soluble cocoa extract contains a high level of dietary fibre. Clinical trials conducted with the ingredient at the department of metabolism and nutrition at the Intitito del Frio indicated that regular consumption could help reduce the risk of heart disease, as it was seen to reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol by as much as 54 per cent, and to reduce blood triglyceride levels by up to 40 per cent, when compared to a control diet.
Other research has suggested that soluble fibre can aid digestion and metabolism of certain substances, and may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, diabetes, constipation and obesity.
The company cites market research indicating that the European food quality ingredient market is worth almost €150m, with growth rates of between eight and 16 per cent. A third of Europeans are thought to look out for products that are 'rich in fibre', and almost 600 new fibre-containing products came to market last year.
Of these, 15 percent fall into the beverage category, and half of these were milk products.
The signs are, then, that there is a market need for milk products with higher fibre content, and that these are well received by consumers.
Natraceutical has also recently launched a low carb cocoa, which will help confectionary-makers lift fibre levels and lower the glycaemic response of their products - making them healthier without affecting the taste.