Called Lacto Tab, the product is a performance drink based on milk serum. The CoQ10, vitamins and minerals are contained within a tablet, sealed in the lid of the bottle. This protects the nutrients from degradation by light and oxygen, since they are only mixed with the liquid just prior to consumption.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that CoQ10 has surged in popularity among supplement users in recent years following studies investigating its role in cardiovascular and cognitive health.
It plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria - the 'power plants' of cells - by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's 'energy currency'.
Emmi spokesperson Stephan Wehrle told NutraIngredients.com that the stability issues have previously prevented the addition of a CoQ10 tablet to liquid. Not only would much of the benefit of the nutrient have been lost, but the sensory qualities of the product may have been affected.
The technology behind the CoQ10 into drinks was developed by Emmi in-house, and the company has been awarded a patent on the sealing mechanism. The company is claiming it as "a state-of-the-art innovation in the drinks sector".
Emmi is not looking to license it to others in the market at the moment, as it has a clear interest in expanding throughout Europe and beyond.
This summer's initial roll out of the product, which comes in four varieties combining the CoQ10 with different vitamins and minerals (Sport & Body, Energy & Brain, Mineral, and Vitamin Plus), will be in Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Spain, Austria and Portugal. Each 450ml bottle is priced at CHF3.5 (c€2.20, £1.30).
Further markets are foreseen once the initial success has been ascertained.
Wehrle said that it is too early to say whether the same system could be applied to other nutrients.
"Theoretically it could be used for conventional vitamin tablets and water," he said, "but it was designed specifically for this combination."
Lacto Tab is the fourth product in Emmi's functional line-up, alongside Aktifit and Benecol for high cholesterol, and Evolus for high blood pressure.
Other companies have sought to overcome stability and solubility issues of CoQ10 in beverages at the ingredient, rather than the packaging, level. For instance, AquaNova has applied its NovaSol nanotechnology to CoQ10, resulting in an ingredient said to offer better bioavailability and the possibility of creating clear solutions.
NutraLease has also developed a nanotechnology solution for solubility and bioavailability, and DSM last year introduced All-Q, a starch-based powder as a carrier for 10 per cent purity CoQ10, which it said makes the normally fat-soluble ingredient stable for formulation in water-based beverages, dairy products or energy drinks.
Until now, the European products containing CoQ10 have been dominated by cosmetics launches. The US has seen more products in the supplement sector.
Since CoQ10 was deregulated as a pharmaceutical in Japan in 2003 its popularity in both oral and topical applications has grown enormously.