Probiotic juices offer new avenues for dairy
from drinks and dairy producers looking to add value, predicts
Finnish functional dairy innovator Valio.
Adding probiotics to juices is more complex than formulating in dairy products where the bacteria can be easily added to other cultures. Yet since Finnish dairy group Valio developed the technology to protect the bacteria from the acidic conditions in fruit juice, it has seen strong sales in Scandinavia. Tomorrow morning, Kaarle Leporanta, marketing manager at the group, will tell visitors to the Drinktec show in Münich that juices can offer significant opportunities in today's health-obsessed world. "This is an alternative to dairy products that suits consumers who don't want to eat dairy foods or are lactose intolerant," he told NutraIngredients.com. The market opportunities have been spotted by leading Norwegian dairy Tine, Valio's first licensee for the probiotic juice technology. Valio has marketed its Gefilus brand of probiotic juices in Finland since 1997 and says they are now the biggest selling product in Finland's refrigerated juice section. "The market has been developing quite nicely. We already have four different flavours and are adding a fifth," said Leporanta. The range, containing its Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria, is also available in Sweden and the Baltic states. Tine will now introduce the concept to Norwegians under the name Biola. Like the Gefilus brand, it will carry a health claim and recommend two glasses per day for an effective daily dose. However not all markets may be ready for such a product. In the UK, reports suggest that Skane dairy's probiotic juice ProViva has not had the same success as on its home market in Sweden. This could be down to a much more developed awareness of probiotic benefits in Scandinavian markets, suggests Leporanta. "In Finland the average consumption of probiotic products is 6kg per capita each year. This is more than the whole yoghurt consumption per capita in the UK," he noted. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Valio