DSM launches consumer facing product range under OatWell brand

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

DSM heads direct to consumer with OatWell

Related tags Beta-glucan

DSM will market its OatWell beta-glucan ingredient direct to the public in its first ever direct-to-consumer product ranges.

Ingredients giant DSM will launch a range of direct-to-consumer products containing its EFSA-backed Oatwell beta-glucan ingredient through specialist retailers in the UK, the firm has told NutraIngredients.

Speaking with us, Ruedi Duss, global business and marketing manager at DSM Nutritional Products said the company has been looking for new ways to communicate the benefits of oat beta-glucans to consumers on the back of its approved article 14 health claims opinion​ for the ingredient to lower blood cholesterol levels.

“We built the claim, and now we need to build awareness,”​ said Duss. “And building awareness means producing credible and high level products that explain the story at the level of the consumer.”

“A disease reduction claim is much more than grocery and mass market, it is a claim that needs to be more carefully explained to people,”​ he explained, noting that while that several firms have been marketing oat beta-glucans for some time, for the most part these products contain smaller servings of the ingredient - meaning that there are limits to the way the products can be marketed and the claims that can be made.

“We have developed the concepts, the formulations, and the recipes, and DSM is manufacturing them.”

Direct to consumer

The firm has already confirmed distribution in the UK through specialist retailer Boots, though Duss noted that there is no exclusivity deal in place for any particular retail channel, and he expects further channels to be in place soon. 

“It is not our intention to go head to head with our customers,”​ said the DSM manager. “Rather, the intention is to promote awareness of oat beta glucans and OatWell."

Working in partnership with specialist retailers in the UK - including Boots - the firm will roll out own-brand products including shakes and bars, that will contain higher levels of oat beta-glucan.

"The formats are typically ones that mean we can get the three grams in of oat beta-glucan from OatWell in one serving. So that can be a cereal, a cereal bar, a shake - anything that is offering a one serving solution as well as a convenient solution.”

“We want people to have it in a convenient way, but it has to be three grams in one shot,”​ said Duss.

DSM will produce products that contain the full three grams required to carry a disease reduction claim in each product. The idea is to produce products that mean you can get the full amount needed for a claim in one serving or one and a half servings, he explained.

“We have to take care of formulations, and make sure you get the three grams in as few calories as possible, because this is a specialist channel.”

Duss added that DSM is also launching a cereal product that will deliver the full requirement of three grams beta-glucan from between 25 and 30 grams of cereal.

"This is a new innovation,"​ he said. "Currently if you want to get that quantity from a cereal on the market you have to consume around 90 to 100 grams."

DSM will also look to explore other specialist retail channels including health stores and pharmacies, but would not be launching products in mainstream retailers or be going head to head with customers who already use the OatWell ingredient in food products in the grocery and mass market space.

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OatWell oat beta-glucan

Posted by Ruedi Duss,

I would like to take this opportunity to address your comment.

Oat beta-glucan has been awarded positive opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU Commission has authorized health claims on the lowering of serum cholesterol, lowering of postprandial blood glucose levels and the maintenance of healthy bowel function.

EFSA recognizes that not all dietary fibers provide the same physiological benefits. The EFSA opinions are designed to aid consumers, physicians and other healthcare professionals in guiding individuals to make appropriate food selections to increase dietary fiber in their diet.

Beta-glucans are a family of dietary fibers occurring naturally in a wide range of food sources and consisting of glucose molecules linked together in chains:
1. In oats / OatWell oat bran these β-glucans are linear polysaccharides and constitute the main component of the soluble dietary fibre content of oats. In cereals, such as oats, the molecules making up the fibers are joined
together by 1-3 and 1-4 linkages. The solubility is enhanced by the (1→3)-linkages compared to cellulose which only has (1→4)-linkages.

2. In fungi and yeasts, the molecules are joined by 1-3 and 1-6 linkages making a rather less soluble fiber.

3. In Cellulose the molecules are linked 1-4 and this is an insoluble fiber.

Because of these different structures and different solubility, the various beta-glucans show different characteristics in the digestive system – and give different outcomes:
1. When oat beta-glucans are consumed, the viscosity increases in the stomach. This can lower cholesterol levels and reduce glucose peaks after a meal. These effects are supported by numerous clinical studies and related health claims have been approved by EFSA (similar health claims are approved in the USA, Canada, Australia and Asian countries) .

Links to the relevant EFSA claims are below:
a. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/pub/1885.htm (cholesterol lowering)
b. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/doc/2207.pdf (blood sugar control)
c. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/doc/2249.pdf (improvement of bowel function)

2. Fungal and yeast beta-glucans are less soluble, but there is some evidence that they might contribute to immunity. A link to the rejected health benefits by EFSA can be found here: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/doc/2061.pdf

3. Cellulose can acts as a bulking agent and reduce transit times for gastrointestinal benefits.

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Oat beta-glucans ?

Posted by Don,

Unfortunately oat beta-glucans are the least effective of beta-glucans. They don't work as well as mushroom beta-glucans, but are much cheaper to produce.

Another thing left out is that beta-glucans have more therapeutic effect when they're part of a full-spectrum supplement, like a full-spectrum mushroom extract. Synergy is an important element; it is also the reason that full-spectrum products usually have no side effects, whereas isolated glucans can cause diarrhea and GI problems.

Although it is being presented as a gift to the consumers, the core of this EFSA claim and the launch of this product range is, as usual, just money.

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