The Spanish company, which is owned by P&R Holding and is a subsidiary of Antibioticos, has a portfolio of carotenoids produced using a fermentation technology. Its plant in Leon, Spain was established in 2003. The agreement with BC-based Alliance marks Vitatene's first official entry into Canada, as it implements a global plan that involves some markets tackled by distributors and agents and some key accounts and markets handled directly by Vitatene. Alliance, which sells ingredients to vitamin companies across Canada, has exclusivity to sell Vitatene's complete line of natural carotenoids. Key branded ingredients include include Betanat beta carotene and Lyconat lycopene. Vitatene is also developing other carotenoids, such as lutein. Asked why Canada is an interesting target market to the ingredients producer, Vitatene area manager Matteo Zema told NutraIngredients-USA.com: "For Vitatene, the world is interesting." "We hope this market could be profitable," he said. Zema declined to reveal any sales projects, but qualified ambitions by saying that sales in Canada are not expected to be as large as those in its neighbour to the south, the United States. Vitatene has been selling its carotenoids for supplement use in the United States through a distribution agreement with B&D since early 2005. Both Betanat and Lyconat are derived from a naturally occurring fungus called blakeslea trispora. The company has said that the development of the natural ingredients line gives manufacturers an economical alternative to synthetic versions, thus tapping into a fierce consumer trend in a cost-effective matter. Betanat is available in three cold water dispersible percentages - 1, 10 and 20 - and as a 30 percent oil. Lyconat, which can be used in foods in the EU since lycopene from blakeslea trispora received novel foods approval, is available in 5 and 10 percent cold water dispersible forms and as a 6 percent oil. Two additional products are also in development: Lutenat lutein from tagetes erecta, in cold water dispersible 10 percent form; and Lutenat plus which combines the lutein with zeaxanthin. The latter is cold water dispersible, with 5 percent lutein and 1 percent zeaxanthin.