Dynamic OTC marketplace: Albertsons and Rite Aid merge, Amazon enters the fray

21 Feb 2018 --- Albertsons Companies, one of the US’ largest grocery retailers, and leading drugstore chain Rite Aid Corporation have announced a definitive merger agreement, creating a retail behemoth with US$83 billion in annual revenue. The move is thought to give the integrated company more weight to compete with bigger chains in an industry anxious about the reported entry of Amazon.com.

AI and personalized nutrition: Nestlé and Nuritas partner on bioactive peptide development

09 Feb 2018 --- Nestlé and biotech company Nuritas have entered into a collaboration aiming to uncover bioactive peptide networks within “specific target areas of significant value.” The precise areas of investigation are not yet being shared, with Nuritas Commercial Manager Neil Foster telling NutritionInsight that these details and the expected launch date are “at this early stage understandably confidential.” As part of the collaboration, Nuritas is to deploy its novel technology platform, which uses Artificial Intelligence and DNA analysis to predict, unlock and validate highly efficacious peptides, exclusively from natural food sources. Nestlé will use their considerable scientific know-how and applications expertise to validate the efficacy of these discoveries within the target applications.

Fermentalg acquires portfolio of omega 3 production patents in bid to strengthen technological position

06 Feb 2018 --- French microalgae supplier Fermentalg has acquired a portfolio of patents to reinforce its intellectual property and industrial and commercial capabilities in the field of omega 3 production. Fermentalg now owns a portfolio of five patents, some of which have already been issued in several countries, to add to its 21 families of active patents already filed. The company has also acquired a number of microalgae strains to add to its bank of over 2,000 strains which is one of the largest in the world.

Consumer health care: Nestle loses interest in Merck's OTC unit 

05 Feb 2018 --- Nestle has pulled out of the bid for Merck’s consumer health unit, leaving the race to buy the maker of Seven Seas vitamins and various other nutritional supplements without its main contender, Reuters reports. The news came a week after Johnson & Johnson withdrew from the race to buy US drugmaker Pfizer’s consumer health business, leaving Nestlé, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser among the potential bidders. 

Fermentation focus: Naturex and Cura sign distribution agreement for koji fermented minerals

31 Jan 2018 --- Naturex has signed a global distribution agreement via its Open Innovation program (Ingenium) with Ames-based Cura for their Koji Minerals line of fermented minerals for the dietary supplement and functional food markets. This year’s launches based on Koji fermentation are a stand-alone iron with optimal bioavailability and slow release effect (results supported by two clinical studies) and a blend of seven minerals (iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, chromium) particularly suitable for the multi minerals segment, Naturex reports.

Capsugel acquisition boosts Lonza's “record-breaking” 2017 full-year results

31 Jan 2018 --- Swiss multinational, chemicals and biotechnology company, Lonza has exceeded 2017 earning expectations with robust sales and profit growth that is partly down to acquiring Capsugel last summer. Having closed the acquisition on 5 July 2017, Lonza consolidated Capsugel for nearly six months last year, which the company says strengthens its positions as a world leader in pharmaceutical, biotech and specialty ingredients markets. And now Lonza announces it’s “record-breaking” full-year results, hailing 2017 as a “major transformational year” for the company. 

Nestlé and GSK among potential bidders for Pfizer's consumer health unit, after J&J pulls out of race

29 Jan 2018 --- Johnson & Johnson has withdrawn from the race to buy US drugmaker Pfizer’s consumer health business, leaving Nestlé, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser among the potential bidders, according to Reuters. Pfizer wants to sell the business, which makes Advil painkillers, Centrum multivitamins and Chapstick lip balm, for no less than US$20 billion, sources have told Reuters. The deadline to submit non-binding offers for the unit is on Thursday.

Probi signs agreement with “global FMCG company” on gut health launch, enjoys Asia-Pacific growth

26 Jan 2018 --- Probi is seeking to further expand into the functional food space with a newly signed agreement with an as-of-yet unnamed global FMCG company. The partnership relates to the launch of a product containing Probi’s bacteria for gut health in North America. In its year-end report, Probi [which is majority owned by Symrise] notes that a launch in the North American market is planned for the second half of 2019, potentially followed by launches in other territories. The agreement is expected to have a significant impact on future sales and earnings in Probi’s Functional Food business area. 

Antibiotic innovation: Research group calls for 50 percent investment increase as resistance threats intensify

22 Jan 2018 --- The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed antibiotic resistance to be one of the three greatest threats to human health today, as bacteria become increasingly resistant and too few treatments are being developed to combat them. The research project DRIVE-AB, a consortium managed by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and AstraZeneca, has determined that a market entry reward of $1 billion per antibiotic globally could significantly increase the number of new antibiotics coming to the market in the next 30 years.

Frutarom takes full ownership of Enzymotec, sells krill oil business to Aker BioMarine

19 Jan 2018 --- Frutarom Industries has completed its acquisition of full ownership of Enzymotec. Upon completion of the transaction on January 11, 2018, Enzymotec shares were delisted from trading on NASDAQ and it ceased to be a public company. Frutarom reports that it is working towards implementing the full merger plan of all Enzymotec activities through the rapid, efficient and comprehensive integration of both companies’ activities in the areas of management, R&D, sales and marketing, production and supply chain. As part of its merger plan, Frutarom has announced the sale of Enzymotec’s krill oil business to Aker BioMarine.

EFSA rejects Unilever black tea health claim

18 Jan 2018 --- The European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected a health claim regarding black tea’s effects on the maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation in adults. The application, submitted for authorization of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 by Unilever, pertained to “black tea beverages, either freshly prepared or reconstituted from water extract powders of black tea, characterized by the content of flavanols (expressed as catechins plus theaflavins) of at least 30 mg per 200 ml serving.” 

Dutch doctors call for energy drinks ban for under 18s, Negative health effects reported in Canadian youth

16 Jan 2018 --- Calls for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 18s have intensified in the Netherlands. Pediatricians are once again arguing for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to young people under the age of eighteen. The Dutch Society for Pediatrics says it is treating more and more young patients who report with symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue and cardiac arrhythmia. A ban is highly unlikely, however, with the Dutch Ministry of Health responding dismissively to the calls.

Bayn Europe sets up subsidiary in China for sugar reduction

15 Jan 2018 --- Bayn Europe AB has signed a joint venture agreement with real estate development company HuaHe International Asset Management Ltd. to introduce sugar reduction to the China market. Both partners have agreed on a cooperation model and mutual commitments for the set-up of the joint venture. Under the agreement, Bayn is to hold 65 percent of equity and HuaHe 35 percent. 

EFSA more than doubles safe levels for 3-MCPD in vegetable oils and food

15 Jan 2018 --- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has increased safe levels of the food processing contaminant 3-MCPD by two and a half fold, from the 2016 Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 0.8 micrograms per kilogram of body weight to 2.0. The revision comes after EFSA experts used an updated scientific approach to reassess the possible long-term adverse effects of 3-MCPD on the kidney and male fertility. 

Fire-stricken BASF plant “back on stream” in March at the earliest

10 Jan 2018 --- BASF confirms that it still expects to start up the Citral plant in Ludwigshafen by March at the earliest following a blaze at the German site last fall. The latest progress reports including the potential availability of products are being detailed by the company which aims to keep customers and industry stakeholders informed of the progress of the repair work.

Avena Foods and Best Cooking Pulses form partnership

09 Jan 2018 --- Avena Foods Limited of Regina, Saskatchewan and Best Cooking Pulses, Inc. (BCP) of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba have announced a new partnership, effective January 2018. Avena is a leading supplier of gluten-free oats to the North American market. Since 2008, Avena has been providing its customers and consumers with consistent, superior quality, certified gluten-free oats – guaranteed to be free from wheat, barley, and rye.

140,000 people sign up for Veganuary, as campaign appeals to consumers wanting a meat and dairy detox

05 Jan 2018 --- Veganuary has become the top trend in the UK for those looking to bring in the New Year with a detox, according to The Telegraph. The campaign has seen 140,000 sign-ups already this month and according to Simon Winch, Veganuary’s Chief Executive, the target for the campaign is 150,000 and they are already on course to beat that.

Nuritas raises €16m in Series A funding

21 Dec 2017 --- Nuritas has announced the close of a circa €16 million (US$19 million) Series A funding round led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. This brings the total invested to date to approximately €25 million, the company reports. The latest round of funding will support Nuritas’ global growth to address and solve many of the most pressing health issues of the day, including the diabetes epidemic. 

New supermarket in food desert may trigger economic and health gains, US study finds

20 Dec 2017 --- Opening a new supermarket in a low-income neighborhood may improve residents' economic well-being and health, even if residents don't necessarily buy healthier food from the store, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The researchers studied a low-income neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a new supermarket opened after decades of absence, and found that residents reported improvements across a number of economic and health benchmarks a year after the store opened, as compared to residents of a similar neighborhood that did not have a supermarket.

Cargill launches low saturated fat, high oleic canola oil

20 Dec 2017 --- Cargill has introduced the lowest saturated fat, high oleic canola oil available to commercial food customers worldwide. The oil is made from a canola hybrid that contains 4.5 percent or less saturated fat while maintaining high fry and shelf life performance, freshness and taste. It reduces saturated fat content 35 percent from previous canola oil generations, the company reports.

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