OptiBiotix and Granja Pocha develop functional probiotic yogurt for Uruguay market

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images

Related tags Dairy Probiotic Peru

Partnering with local market specialists, OptiBiotix-subsidiary ProBiotix Health embarks on plans to create a new functional yogurt that will contain its patented probiotic strain Lactobacillus Plantarum (LPLDL).

Life sciences company OptiBiotix teamed up with Granja Pocha to produce a dairy product range with probiotic strain LPLDL. We spoke to Steve Prescott, CEO of OptiBiotix-subsidiary, ProBiotix Health, to find out more about the partnership and market potential in Uruguay.

A captive audience in Uruguay

Revealing why the brand chose to create and launch the functional yogurt in the Uruguayan market specifically, Probiotix Health highlights that it is “critical”​ when launching a new functional food, that the “product tastes as good as, if not better than the non-functional alternatives."

With its partners SACCO as the culture supplier, and Granja Pocha as the yogurt supplier and brand on board, Probiotix Health selected Uruguay as its launch location.

When it comes to the functional food market, and probiotic dairy space, in particular, consumers in the South American country are “looking for a product that is easy to use, fits their lifestyle, tastes great and delivers a functional benefit," ​Prescott revealed. 

Probiotic partnership

Headquartered in the UK, the biotech company focuses on developing compounds to address chronic disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The collaboration will take place through Optibiotix’s 100% owned subsidiary, ProBiotix Health, following its launch in 2018. The division seeks to tackle the “rapid scientific and commercial development”​ of the probiotics division of OptiBiotix.

As part of a licensing agreement with Granja Pocha, the probiotic-containing functional yogurt will be distributed in Uruguay, South America. Granja Pocha noted that its operating center is located in the “most important dairy zone of Uruguay." ​Situated in the southern region of the department of Colonia — which gives its name to its leading dairy brand — the area has “ideal natural conditions for dairy,” ​enabling the company to produce over 34 million liters of milk. 

Functional yogurt innovation

Commenting on the main drivers influencing the brand’s decision to develop yogurt in the functional food space, Prescott explained: Over the past several years, growth in the functional foods market has outpaced traditional foods.”

ProBiotix Health sees this trend continuing as consumers “continue to adopt healthy lifestyles and, as part of this, include functional foods into their diet to prevent future health-related issues," noted ​Prescott.

Dairy formulation to tackle disease

Italy-based SACCO provides functional foods that use probiotics, food microorganisms, lactic acid ferments and enzymes. Through distributing the probiotic innovation to Uruguay and wider South America, the company aims to support efforts to overcome cardiovascular disease.

Probiotix Health believes yogurts containing LPLDL accomplish Uruguayan consumer needs “since the ingredient has been clinically proven to help consumers manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels," said ​Prescott.

Following a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled human study, ProBiotix Health found that LPLDL:

  • Lowered total cholesterol (TC) by up to 36.7% and LDL cholesterol by up to 13.9%
  • Increased HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) by up to 4.5%
  • Lowered systolic blood pressure by 5.1%

Patented probiotic strain

Probiotix Health believes yogurts containing LPLDL accomplish Uruguayan consumer needs “since the ingredient has been clinically proven to help consumers manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels," ​said Prescott.

In addition, when the probiotic strain is added to dairy, Prescott said it doesn’t change the taste or texture of the product, adding that yogurt is a popular food in Uruguay. Prescott believes it’s clear that many consumers enjoy yogurt on a daily basis, and can, therefore, benefit from the health-related benefits of taking probiotics.

Talking about the unique elements of its patented probiotic strain LPLDL, Prescott explained that it “harnesses the microbiome-liver axis to positively impact upon the cholesterol levels using the gut’s microbiome."

The patented ingredient has a mechanism of action that increases the breakdown rate of bile salt molecules in the intestine, leading the liver to synthesize additional bile salt using cholesterol from the blood.

 Unveiling the licensing pact with Granja Pocha, Prescott, stated: “We will expand the presence of LPLDL into South America to extend its use in dairy products.”

Achieving a “significant milestone” ​in functional food innovation

Highlighting the importance of the R&D carried out by Granja Pocha as it broadens the use of LPLDL into functional foods — in this case, dairy — it marks a “significant milestone”​ that may be extrapolated to other areas.  

“Functional foods like this yogurt provide a unique format for customers to receive the cholesterol-reducing benefits of LPLDL and positively impact on a growing industry trend towards functional foods,”​ said Prescott.