"We launched the [probiotic] concept in capsule formulation in the late '90s," said international product manager Rita Offersen. "It has been well received by consumers, but we also know that some consumers prefer tablets and we have received several market requests for a probiotic tablet formulation.
"In the US, for example, consumers generally prefer capsules, while in Europe, there is a tradition of using tablets. Our goal is to offer as broad a scope of products as possible in order to satisfy consumers all over the world. And that's the reason why we decided to develop this new formulation of a well-known combination of probiotics."
The Probio-Tec AB-tab-4 tablet contains two clinically documented probiotic cultures, LA-5 Lactobacillus acidophilus and BB-12 Bifidobacterium. The probiotic tablet assists in strengthening, maintaining and restoring the intestinal microflora, Chr. Hansen claims.
"Developing a tablet is somewhat more sophisticated than producing a capsule," said Dr Peter Suhr-Jessen, director of Chr. Hansen's health & nutrition research, development and application division. "It requires a lot more. Our challenge was to bring forward a tablet formulation, which was fairly small and easy to swallow - and at the same time could survive passage through the stomach and into the small intestine."
He explained that the Probio-Tec tablet was a targeted delivery system that keeps the probiotic bacteria within the protective tablet matrix during passage through the stomach. "By doing so, the bacteria are protected against gastric acid. When the tablet reaches the small intestine, the viable probiotic bacteria are finally released and start working."
According to Offersen, another challenge for Chr. Hansen was to make the probiotic bacteria inside the tablet survive the production processes, which can often be tough on delicate organisms.