Steve Yamada, chairman and CEO of Maypro, and Paul Buckel, vice president of sales for Brio Ice Cream. The 18th annual NutrAward –- the nutrition industry’s longest-running award recognition -– tapped the first four-time winner, for a (you guessed it) probiotic ingredient.
Maypro Group won for its L-92 strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus, with an impressive research dossier showing efficacy against allergies -– in particular, hay fever and atopic eczema.
Maypro has previously won for the medical mushroom AHCC, the lychee fruit extract Oligonal and the mitochondrial activator PQQ.
“The common thread is Maypro Group has been known as an extremely capable and reliable ingredient supplier,” said Steve Yamada, chairman and CEO of Maypro. “The product has a lot of science, and the product works in a relatively short time.”
Maypro launched the ingredient less than two years ago in Japan and has already attained $40 million in business. Yamada said if fortunes go the same way, with the U.S. market being three times the size of Japan, he’s hoping for a $100 million ingredient in two years.
“We are looking for a good partner in the drug, professional, internet and natural retail channels.”
On the finished product side –- which has been a component of the NutrAwards since 2010 -– the winner is a premium ice cream with health benefits.
Brio Ice Cream, a neighbor to iconic ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, has formulated an indulgent ice cream like none other. Brio contains a veritable multivitamin and multimineral in it, as well as probiotics, half the fat and 65 percent less cholesterol and saturated fat as regular ice cream, plus omega-3s, 6g protein and 2g fiber.
“The ice cream people said you can’t put vitamins and minerals in ice cream and still have it taste good,” said Paul Buckel, vice president of sales for Brio Ice Cream. “The flavor experts from Ben & Jerry’s helped formulate the flavor. The director of operations worked for Ben & Jerry’s previously.”
The founders of the company, Ron and Arnie Koss, got their start in the health and wellness sector in the early 1980s when they had the idea for natural and organic baby food. Earth’s Best was the result –- which got its start when Wegman’s picked it up, then the company was bought out by Heinz, later by Hain Celestial. It took almost a decade for the delicious, nutritious ice cream to surmount its better-for-you challenges and make it to market. The company has attained two patents –- one for a low-glycemic sugar, another for flavor around its vitamins and minerals.
The NutrAward ingredient class is selected based on a weighted vote from a selection committee consisting of industry experts, scientists and nutritionists, as well as by a cumulative vote of registered attendees. Considerations include scientific merit, safety and efficacy, market potential, innovation and ability to increase market credibility.
For finished products, criteria include a viable product, emerging category, creative product concept, distinct health applications, unique packaging and matchless marketing.