The deal will see French plant-based ingredients firm Naturex buy 100% of the shares of Swedish Oat Fiber – a specialised manufacturer of oat-based extracts and ingredients including dietary fibres, oils and proteins.
The Swedish firm has a key position as a producer of oat beta-glucans and other oat extracts for use in the nutraceutical, food, cosmetic and feed industries, said Naturex – noting that clinical research on oat dietary fibres have resulted in a number of health claims, such as lowering cholesterol levels, approved by various regulatory authorities throughout the world.
"We are delighted and proud to integrate Swedish Oat Fiber, a leading company in natural oat ingredients and a pioneer in its field,” commented Naturex CEO and Director Olivier Rigaud. “We are very pleased to welcome its talented employees who have succeeded in achieving such a level of excellence to this day.”
“This acquisition will support our development and diversification strategy into very promising market segments, such as dietary fibres with strong health claims, and specialty plant-based proteins, in line with new consumer trends."
Swedish Oat history
Swedish Oat Fiber has a long history in the nutrition market, having initially started investigating fish proteins as Astra Nutrition in the 1960s. The company quickly began to also look at oats as a potential source of nutritional value for humans and by the 1980s, as demand for fish protein dwindled, it began to solely focus on oats – and in 1989 Swedish Oat Fiber was formed.
The company launched an oat bran product in 1994, which was later re-branded as OatWell at around the same time as the company set up a Swiss subsidiary called CreaNutrition – which achieved a positive EFSA opinion for the reduction of cholesterol by oat beta-glucans in 2010.
In late 2012, Swedish Oat Fiber sold its OatWell brand to DSM. DSM took possession of the brand as well as distribution of Oatwell beta-glucan ingredients outside of the Nordic region from early 2013.
The international sales or OatWell had previously been with subsidiary CreaNutrition, which as a result was later phased out as a company – with Swedish Oat Fiber taking over the remaining direct selling and marketing.
Looking to the future
Swedish Oat Fiber will now be integrated into the Naturex business and will contribute to strengthening Naturex's presence in the nutrition segment through convergence with existing ranges in the cardiovascular health segment and plant-based protein segment.
Furthermore, Naturex says the addition of oat beta-glucan fibers to its existing portfolio (Aronia, cocoa flavanols, olive leafs ...) will offer its customers an additional natural solution with beneficial effects on cholesterol levels that are scientifically proven and recognized by EFSA in, the FDA in the United States and the OFSP in Switzerland.
"We are convinced that Naturex will know how to provide a new strategic impetus to Swedish Oat Fiber and support its development and future projects through its international commercial network R&D support and the expertise of its network of application laboratories,” said Peo Crona, CEO of Swedish Oat Fiber.