Probiotics giant debuts soft gel with 2-year shelf life

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft gel Chr hansen Nutrition European union Docosahexaenoic acid

Chr Hansen says its 2-year shelf life probiotic soft gel is a "tremendous achievement"
Chr Hansen says its 2-year shelf life probiotic soft gel is a "tremendous achievement"
Danish probiotics player Chr Hansen has launched a patent-pending soft gel that can deliver live probiotics with a two-year shelf life and matched it with a probiotic-omega-3 supplement targeting pregnant women.

Producing probiotics in soft gel format is fraught with technical challenges stemming from the high moisture content of soft gels and the high temperatures deployed during their production – two conditions that limit the survival of probiotic bacteria.

Secret soft gel technology

Working with its contract manufacturing partner Ayanda, Chr Hansen said its ‘Live Gel’ technology had tackled the issues.

“Manufacturing a soft gel with live probiotics, at a clinically documented CFU (Colony Forming Units) level, and being able to guarantee shelf stability, is a tremendous achievement. How we got there is proprietary information between the parties involved,”​ Lasse Nagell, sales & marketing vice president in human health & nutrition at Chr Hansen, told

A version (Mother’s 1st​ ) with BB-12 (Bifidobacterium animalis ​subsp. Lactis)​ and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has been produced and shown to industry at trade events. There one capsule contained 1bn CFU of BB-12 and 250mg of the omega-3 fatty acid.

Targeting the mother and baby market

Like a lot of probiotics, BB-12 backed in some clinical studies for immune and gastrointestinal health and omega-3 form DHA is shown to support early brain and eye development in infants.

This combination is designed with mums-to-be – who often suffer from constipation – and breastfeeding mothers and their infants in mind.

Nagell noted food supplement manufacturers wanting to run with the Mother’s 1st​ concept in the European Union would be able to use approved health claims that link maternal intake of DHA to normal vision and brain development in the foetus and infants up to one year. As yet there are no EU-approved health claims for probiotics under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

Non-essential nutrition

The launch of Mother’s 1st​ follows hot on the heels of EFSA’s (European Food Safety Authority) opinion as to what constitutes essential infant nutrition. In July, EFSA concluded that it was not necessary to add arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, probiotics or synbiotics to infant and follow-on formulae. 

Chr Hansen emphasised Mother’s 1st​ was aimed at mothers rather than infants.

“Mother’s 1st​ is marketed as a dietary supplement to be taken by the pregnant and lactating mother,” ​said Nagell.

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