Glanbia Nutritionals: so much more than 'pure food'

Glanbia means "pure food" in Irish. This innovative functional ingredient company has grown in many ways since its beginnings as a dairy co-op. 


Glanbia plc formed in 1999 after two iconic and successful Irish dairy groups—Avonmore Foods and Waterford Foods—merged. Glanbia, translated as “pure food” in Irish, quickly set it sights on growth, forming partnerships abroad and creating a new division focused specifically on nutritional products for the functional foods industry. Glanbia Nutritionals was born in 2002 and has since grown across markets while making strategic acquisitions to vertically integrate the business.

The acquisition of Optimum Nutrition in 2009 and the subsequent acquisition of BSN in 2011 have given Glanbia Nutritionals an edge in the industry by ensuring a market for its whey products while strengthening the company’s access to the consumer market.

Supplying specialty whey proteins and other nutritional ingredients to diverse markets from functional foods and sports nutrition to infant nutrition reveals the versatility of, and demand for, dairy-based ingredients. According to sales data from Nutrition Business Journal, Glanbia Nutritionals plays primarily in the sports nutrition and meal replacement categories and does nearly 75 percent of its ingredient sales in the United States. Not surprising given this country’s penchant for functional food and beverage.

But Glanbia Nutritionals’ ability to see opportunity and fill a need doesn’t stop with dairy. The company’s Customized Solutions division has taken on the role of distributing diverse yet synergistic ingredients to the functional food market by taking on ingredients like GanedenBC30 and more recently partnering with Chromadex as the exclusive North American supplier of pTeroPure. These specialty ingredients fit nicely with the company’s micronutrient premixes, amino acids, and vitamins business.

Glanbia Nutritionals acquired Pizzey’s Milling in 2007, adding flaxseed to its long list of nutritional ingredient offerings. High in ALA omega-3, protein and fiber, flax opens the door to new nutritional products as well as new food technologies. “We have several nutritional flaxseed products ranging from fine milled BevGrad for beverages to FortiGrad flaxseed bran with 56 percent fiber,” explained Eric Borchardt, Director of Marketing for Glanbia’s Ingredient Technology division. 

For Glanbia functionality doesn’t stop at nutrition. “By ‘functional’ Glanbia means products that improve the organoleptic properties of a product,” said Borchardt. “Glanbia has since discovered several functional properties within flaxseed and has developed a line of functional flaxseed products including OptiSol® 5300, a specialized ingredient designed to replace guar gum in applications, including gluten free products, while providing improved functionality and saving cost.”

In June, at IFT in Las Vegas, Nevada, Glanbia Nutritionals will debut its newest functional formulation for the nutritional bar market. BarPro 585 features a unique whipping protein designed to create a more desirable nougat texture in nutrition bars.

“BarPro 585 is an important step in bar ingredient innovation as texture is such a key element in consumer satisfaction,” said Linda Wilson, business development manager for bars at Glanbia Nutritionals. “Manufacturers have often faced challenges in effectively creating a nougat texture in such applications and this ingredient is the first to succeed. We see bars remaining a particularly popular format for consumers as they are convenient and offer proven nutritional benefits.”

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