Enzymotec, AAK form Advanced Lipid joint venture

By Jess Halliday in Tel Aviv

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fatty acid

Israeli Enzymotec and Swedish specialty oil and fat manufacturer
AarhusKarlshamn (AAK) have entered into a joint venture to deliver
advanced lipids to the food industry - starting with InFat for
infant formulas and working towards ingredients for functional
foods.

The two companies already enjoyed a relationship dating back to 2003 for the production of Enzymotec's InFat, and have been operating the joint venture since last year. However new company Advanced Lipid, in which the two parties each hold 50 per cent of the shares, was formally established last week. At a briefing at the Enzymtec's headquarters in Migdal HaEmeq, Israel, Yoav Kahane, managing director of Advanced Lipid (former business unit manager for infant nutrition at Enzymotec) told NutraIngredients.com that the new company's first product is InFat, the structured triglyceride fat ingredient that AAK already produces on Enzymotec's behalf. More than 98 per cent of the fat found in human breast milk and most infant formulas is in the form of triglycerides, which contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. However the positional distribution of the saturated and unsaturated fatty acids on the glycerol backbone has been seen to have an effect on energy and fatty-acid uptake. Whereas in human milk saturated palmitic acid is mainly esterified to the second position of the triglyceride, in most infant formulas (which contain vegetable oil) palmitic acid is in the first and third positions. The process behind InFat, which is modified from vegetable oil, means that palmitic acid is in the second position, as in human milk. According to the company research conducted to date have shown an increase in calcium and energy uptake, as well as softening stools and decreasing the excretion of essential fatty acids. As a value-added product, InFat - together with Lipid Nutrition's Betapol, which targets the same market - make barely a drop in the 200,000 metric tonnes per year of basic vegetable oil that is used by the infant formula market each year. But as infant formula-makers continue to replicate the nutritional profile of human milk as closely as possible, Kahane is aiming to make InFat the standard product for infant formulas. Products containing the ingredient are already on the market in Europe and the Far East, and Advanced Lipid plans to expand into new markets. But the existing plant is already at capacity, a new one is under construction in Sweden and is expected to be operational by the end of the year. Kahane declined to give details of the new capacity, but said that it will serve market needs for two to three years and has been designed so that capacity can be increased quickly as needed. Another benefit of the joint venture is that the companies are continuing to improve the production process. Kahane would not discuss details on pricing, but said while the value-added product will still command a higher price than vegetable oil such improvements will help bring down the premium. Kahane told NutraIngredients.com that the company has "a number of ideas"​ for other ingredients, both in lipids and fats. "We may find some ways to cooperate for food applications,"​ he said. Under the terms of the agreement, Enzymotec's role is enzyme production, the handling of regulatory approvals, and back-up of scientific data; AAK is to be responsible for production, sales, administration and logistics; and the partners share joint responsibility for product development and market and business development. Enzymotec, a subsidiary of Galem Group, sets out to take well-established ingredients with scientific and market awareness behind them, and modify or conjugate them to take them to the next level of efficacy. Aside from InFat, the company's other two flagship ingredients are CardiaBeat, a combination of omega-3 and plant sterols for cardiovascular health and SharpPS (phosphatidylserine and DHA) for cognitive function. The company also recently announced its entry into the krill oil market. Enzymotec's board recently decided that US$3m be ploughed into research and development annually. This year it is planned that four large and two small-scale clinical trials around the existing line of products will get underway. Jess Halliday visited Enzymotec as part of a trip funded by the Israeli Export Institute

Related topics: Suppliers, Omega-3s & Nutritional oils

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