Peptides find new platform potential

well established in Japan, the use of peptides as ingredients in foods, beverages and supplements is gaining momentum in the US and Europe, as interest grows in various peptides with blood pressure-lowering, sports recovery and other health benefits.

Dutch ingredients companies DSM and DMV are both noting considerable success with recent peptide ingredients launches. DSM?s PeptoPro has been picked up by several European food and beverage manufacturers in the year or so it has been on the market, the biggest contract being with Haleko, Europe?s largest sports nutrition company.

Haleko has five products — three sports beverages, an energy gel and a nutrition bar — being marketed in more than 30 countries, said PeptoPro?s marketing and sales director Dr Stefan Siebrecht. PeptoPro is also being used in sports drinks by Irish company CNC, and in a Dutch sports drink. Products are also about to be launched in Japan and China.

Siebrecht said PeptoPro had gained the interest of major soft drink manufacturers in both Europe and the US, and negotiations were taking place to bring a beverage, most likely a sports drink, to market. ?I can?t mention any names but they are some of the biggest soft drink brands in the world,? he told FF&N. A powder mixture will be released in the US this year, and, Siebrecht noted, ?We also have developments occurring in soft drinks and children?s drinks.?

DMV, the ingredients division of the Dutch Campina dairy group, has brought its own peptide to the market, called C12. It has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure. US supplements maker Twinlab is using C12 in one of its products, and DMV says it is hoping to broaden the ingredient?s use into the food and beverage area.

Adding to the mix in the European market is the entrance of Japanese ingredients, foods and beverages giant Calpis, and its ingredient AmealPeptide, being used in a new Unilever daily-dose blood pressure lowering dairy offering in Portugal under the cholesterol-lowering Pro.activ brand. The product is expected to be rolled out in other European and worldwide markets.

Calpis has opened a production facility in Denmark to meet demand for the ingredient it has marketed on the Japanese market since 1997. Peptide-imbued products, particularly drinks, have been big sellers in Japan, where it is estimated one quarter of the population suffers from high blood pressure.

Calpis? own branded beverage, Ameal S, holds a 70 per cent market share in the blood pressure-lowering FOSHU (Food for Specified Health Use) category in Japan, although its sales have fallen 20 per cent in two years. If similar market penetration is assumed among Europe?s high blood pressure sufferers, the market could be worth more than $300 million.

Calpis has been marketing Ameal S as a dietary supplement in California since 2003 and is planning to expand across the US.

Peptides are formed when proteins are broken down into molecular bundles the body can process. Aside from blood pressure-lowering and sports recovery, other health benefits include reducing blood-sugar levels, and increasing satiety and immune function.

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