Jalna extends Australian functional yoghurts range

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Euromonitor international Vitamin d Nutrition

Australian dairy foods company is introducing a raft of new yoghurt
products aimed at addressing health concerns of consumers.

The company claims to have been the first to have introduced yoghurts with viable probiotic 'friendly' bacteria in Australia.

Accoring to Euromonitor International, probiotic products make up 88.5 per cent of the A$187.6m (at retail)

Australian fortified/functional yoghurt market.

Its three new products under the Vitalize range build on the proven success of dairy products - an yoghurts in particular - as carriers for added nutrients and bioactives.

The company has also identified areas which have a strong appeal to the Australian consumers.

For instance, its Calcium + product is enriched not only with calcium (40 per cent of the RDI) but also with vitamin D (10 per cent of RDI).

This is particularly important since recent studies have shown many Australians to have low vitamin D levels.

The major source of vitamin D in Australia is sunlight (it also occurs naturally in foods like oily fish and full fat dairy).

However advice to cover up in the sun and slap sun cream on exposed skin is thought to be a factor in low vitamin D status.

Certain sectors of the population - such as those with dark skin, or who, for whatever reason, rarely come into contact with sunlight - could certainly benefit from a boost.

Although the yoghurt product does not contain enough to address the problem entirely, it is understood to be one of the first yoghurts containing added vitamin D in the Australian market. .

Exposure of hands, face and arms to one-third of a minimal erythemal dose of sunlight - the amount that produces a faint redness of skin - most days is recommended for adequate vitamin D synthesis, according to the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, but deliberate exposure during the most dangerous hours is not recommended.

If sun exposure is not possible, then a vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU (international units) per day is recommended.

International experts have recently been speaking out in favour of recommending higher intakes - as much as 1000IU.

Jalna's Vitalize Heart + product seeks to tap increased interest and awareness in the health benefits of omega-3.

This acceptance was indicated in a study conducted amongst overweight consumers in the Illawarra region of Australia and published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

"Most participants were aware of a range of potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids," concluded the researchers, but they added that they had reservations about the ability of omega-3-enriched foods to deliver a health benefit - as well as labelling issues and the possibility of over-dosing.

Although consumer perceptions may have moved on since the study was conducted, given the explosion of the market on a global scale, such conclusions demonstrate the importance of a campaign to support product launches of this ilk.

Jalna is planning a major campaign around the launch of all of the new products.

The third product with a health message in the range is Vitalize Immune, which contains vitamin C and Echinacea, both of which have long been linked to common cold prevention, together with antioxidant-rich acai berry, raspberry and pear.

Euromonitor International ranks Jalna as no 3 in the Australian functional yoghurt market, behind Yakult and Parmalat's Vaalia.

References Publication: Medical Journal of Australia 2005 182 (6):281-285 Title: Vitamin D and adult bone health in Australia and New Zealand: a position statement Publication: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Vol 37, Issue 2 , March-April 2005, Pages 83-89 Title: Overweight Consumers' Salient Beliefs on Omega-3-Enriched Functional Foods in Australia's Illawarra Region Authors: Patch, Tapsell, Williams

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