Coca-Cola to give Provexis fizz with Fruitflow deal?

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Platelet

A deal between Provexis and Coca-Cola over the use of its
tomato-based Fruitflow technology could be on the cards, according
to The Times, which may see heart health functional drinks
propelled into the mainstream.

If the rumours are founded, then the move could spell a second outing for the Fruitflow system, which has so far been used only in its showcase Sirco juice product in the UK.

The Times said yesterday that Provexis " is expected to confirm that the Atlanta-based soft drinks giant is evaluating the potential use of Fruitflow " Nobody from Provexis was available for comment on these rumours to prior to publication.

Provexis has already entered into a 12-month exclusivity agreement with Unilever to develop a second-generation version of Fruitflow in July for using the ingredient in dairy.

There has been no indication of progression on this agreement.

This summer Provexis stopped manufacturing the Sirco juice brand, but said the move will not be the end of the company's involvement in the functional beverage market.

Provexis said then it would work with established processors in food and beverage production.

The ingredient in Sirco is based on compounds contained in the clear fraction of tomatoes that inhibit blood platelet aggregation, thereby smoothing blood flow and helping to maintain healthy circulation and heart.

The global market for foods with heart benefit was valued in 2005 at US$4bn.

The original Fruitflow is a thick, sugary syrup - ideal for juice drinks like Sirco but with a strong flavour and colour that makes it unsuitable for dairy and other foods.

The agreement with Unilever is hoped to solve this.

In May Provexis said Sirco helped the firm reach strong sales and a reduction in its operating loss in the full year ended March 31 2007.

The UK-based company reported revenues of £805,000, up from £267,000 in 2006 - most of which was generated by sales of its Sirco juice brand in the UK.

It was launched in early 2006 as a demonstration product.

It also reduced its operating loss from £2.68m to £2.27m Coca-Cola has already made several inroads into the world of functional beverages.

In 2003 the firm launched the drink BPM Energy, which came in to fruit-flavours, and contained vitamin C, glucose and ginseng.

More recently in May, Coca-Cola agreed to pay $4.1bn (€3.05bn) to buy Glacéau and its full range of health-based water brands, including Vitaminwater.

Coca-Cola said the acquisition gives the company a platform to grow what it calls "active lifestyle beverages", those targeting health-conscious consumers - one of the key areas of growth in the drinks market.

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