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Fresh Produce

Fonterra Announces Partnership With US Biotech Firm VitaKey

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said it has struck a partnership deal with US-based biotech firm VitaKey to look at ways to prolong freshness and nutrients of products using probiotic strains.

In a statement, Fonterra said it was looking to design dairy products that include time-controlled release of specific dairy nutrients, starting with probiotics that would keep it fresher for longer and allow nutrients to be more active. It didn't disclose financial terms of the partnership.

The cooperation deal comes as global supply chain disruptions highlight the need to bolster the storage duration of products while retaining their nutrition. The coronavirus pandemic has also increased healthy diet concerns as people around the world adapt to lifestyles that often include extended period working or staying at home.

'Health And Wellness'

"We can really drive our 'Active Living' business by appealing to the growing health and wellness consumer segment that desire the maximum functional benefits from food," said Judith Swales, chief executive officer for Fonterra's Asia-Pacific region.

"Because the nutrients are encapsulated and highly targeted, it also means we can use less milk in our production, making our milk go further while reducing food waste," Swales added.

VitaKey's nutrients platform is based on technology licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and developed at the Langer Lab.

Founder of VitaKey, Dr Robert Langer’s vision for the companies working together is “to do something that really can change the world, rather than something incremental.”

Recently, Fonterra raised the forecast range for the price it pays farmers for milk in the 2021-22 season, citing a below-average increase in global supply and firm demand.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for solutions to enhance health and wellness and boost the immunity of men, women and children at every stage of life. We believe that good nutritious food can help people of all ages lead healthier lives," Dr Langer added.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. For more Fresh Produce  news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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