Beneo Institute seeks to give functional foods “new oxygen”

By Shane Starling in Frankfurt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

The Beneo Group today launched the Beneo Institute – a new arm of its operation that will assist its customers innovate in increasingly complex and strict regulatory environments.

Detailing the Institute’s aims and objectives this morning at the Food Ingredients Europe trade show in Frankfurt, Beneo Group executive board member, Yves Servotte, said the increasing regulatory demands placed on the functional foods industry was prime in the Institute’s foundation.

“The market for functional foods will continue to be competitive but it is facing serious challenges, it is squeezed like an orange at the moment, and the Beneo Institute has been set up partly in response to that,” ​he told after the official launch. “The functional foods industry needs new oxygen.”

“This is a unique B2B proposition that will allow us to work with companies to develop the science, the right wordings for claims depending on the part of the world they are in. We also want the institute to be a place where we can stimulate debate around the issues affecting the functional foods industry. Regulation and science have become very important food stakeholders.”

He warned the functional foods industry was facing its most serious challenge as regulators sought to impose black and white models that could drive innovation from Europe’s shores, as had been the case with large sections of the biotech industry.

“We believe it is time to fight and we will defend our interests and those of better nutrition,” said ​Servotte.

The Institute

The Beneo Institute stated aims are to unite science, communications and regulatory affairs under one roof that can offer a full package of advice that goes beyond the formulation and testing lab and into the regulatory world.

Six focus areas have been highlighted:

  • Weight management
  • Digestive health
  • Dental health
  • Bone health
  • Mental and physical performance
  • Low GI

Towards solutions

Servotte said several projects being worked on by the company including mineral absorption and oligofructose innovation would be developed by the Institute and acknowledged some of them could go on for many years depending on the particular project.

“It is difficult to predict because there is so much uncertainty in regard to regulations but we do not offer total answers but believe the Institute can assist our clients getting products to market,” ​he said.

The company would advise companies about health claims but would not submit dossiers backing claims to the European Union nutrition and health claims process.

“We will never take responsibility for this on the part of our customers,” ​said Servotte, “But we will provide a level of support that should provide them with the best chance of success.”

Literature promoting the Institute stated: “Ongoing communication with authorities, opinion leaders, health professionals and industry associations will foster an atmosphere of confidence and trust and will also ensure that we disseminate the information that is vital to the success of new product development.”

More than 100 researchers and scientists will be utilised by the Group, as well as regulatory experts.

The Institute’s activities include:

  • Nutritional research and peer-reviewed articles
  • Position papers on nutritional and regulatory topics
  • International research conferences and workshops
  • Regulatory dossiers for product approvals
  • Publication of periodical , “Window to Science”

The forming of the Beneo Institute comes two years after the formation of the Beneo Group which brought Orafti, Sudzucker and Remy under one roof.

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