Valio spreads probiotics into new category

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Probiotic, Lactobacillus, Unilever

Unilever has teamed up with Finnish dairy and ingredients supplier, Valio, to launch a probiotic spread in Germany and Sweden with “strengthening natural defences” as the central selling point.

Unilever’s low-fat Lätta brand is the host with Valio supplying its clinically-backed Lactobacillus GG (LGG) probiotic strains in doses Valio said were equivalent to common probiotic formats such as one-shot drinkable yoghurts and spoonable yoghurt pots.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, there is only one other probiotics-containing spread called Beviva and manufactured by fellow Finnish firm, Raisio. That product was launched in Poland and Hungary late last year and also marketed on immunity plus other benefits.

Valio’s export manager of technology sales, Kalle Leporanta, said spreads offered the benefit of a format that did not come with associated high-sugar levels as was often the case with drinkable and spoonable yoghurts.

“This is a new gap in the market so we will see how it succeeds,”​ Leporanta told NutraIngredients.com “It will be interesting to see consumer feedback.”

While the number of Colony Forming Units of ‘Lätta Probiotik’ could not be confirmed, he said effective dosage had been established at 20g per day, or a typical spread of the spread on two slices of bread.

The product will sell for about €2 – double the price of regular Lätta.

Breakfast club

The breakfast market is being targeted and the German arm of Unilever has established an interactive website to support the brand that focuses on the product’s ability to keep the body healthy and deliver vitality.

Its tone and content would indicate younger consumers are the chosen segment. A television advert that can be viewed on the site features a woman riding around a translucent blue lake on the back of a killer whale.

The advert, website and product packaging compares the little one-shot bottles that have become very popular as probiotic delivery mechanisms and a tub of Lätta, highlighting how many little bottles worth of probiotics are contained within each tub.

Latta’s on-package claims include:

  • With active lactic-acid bacteria
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Two daily portions (2 x 10g) deliver the daily dose of probiotics

Its weight management status as a low-fat product also informs the product’s marketing.

LGG debuted in Valio’s Gefilus product in 1990 and has featured in more than 400 published scientific studies. It is present in products in about 40 countries.

Unilever was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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