December 13, 2021 — Comet Bio has invested an undisclosed sum in a food manufacturing plant in Denmark with RE Energy, a company specializing in environmental sustainability. The move will see Comet Bio modernize and expand its existing facility in Kalundborg to supply more than 4 million kg of its prebiotic Arrabina fiber per year.
Talk to NutritionInsight, Rich Troyer, CEO of Comet Bio, sees this as an important step for the company as it enables it to meet the needs of its customers for prebiotic fiber and, ultimately, for gut health more reliably.
“This will allow us to complete various certifications that are important for some of our customers and difficult to achieve with co-manufacturers. This project also creates a positive dynamic for the development and construction of our growth plans for the future.
Demand for prebiotic fiber is increasing
Hannah Ackermann, dietitian and communications manager at Comet Bio, believes the company will be well positioned to meet growing customer demand for its Arrabina prebiotic fiber.
“The demand for prebiotics has increased dramatically in recent years,” she says. “Consumers recognize the role of prebiotics in supporting digestive health, immunity, metabolism and potentially other areas such as cognition or mood.”
“In response, food and beverage companies are increasing front-of-package prebiotic claims, resulting in over 10% annual growth for the category,” she adds.
One of the main benefits of Arrabina is its potency, allowing for a front-of-the-pack prebiotic claim with only half the level of inclusion of other prebiotics.
“Although effective at lower levels, our clinical research shows that Arrabina is well tolerated even when consumers take three or more servings,” comments Ackerman.
“This is important because consumers often do not stick to standard serving sizes, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress if prebiotic fiber is not well tolerated at higher levels. This is especially true for the more indulgent and flavorful snacks containing prebiotic fibers that are increasingly entering the market, such as candy bars, baked goods, and cabbage.
Expansion into food applications and beyond
Arrabina can also be used in a wider variety of formats, including coffee, tea, chocolate, nutrition bars, protein powders, and baked goods. By incorporating prebiotic fiber into existing products that are already part of their daily routine, consumers can more easily meet their gut health needs and the recommended daily fiber intake, Ackermann reports.
“Consumers are paying more attention to gut health than ever before and making the connection between diet and a healthy gut microbiome,” she says. As they gain a better understanding of how what they eat affects their gut health, there will be even more demand for foods containing pro and prebiotics.
However, the science around the microbiome is still in its infancy. “The microbiome was only fully mapped a few years ago, and scientists continue to learn more about how the gut microbiome can affect overall health. One area of particular interest is how the gut microbiome can affect immunity, ”explains Ackermann.
“Research suggests that over 70% of our body’s immune system resides in the gastrointestinal tract. Investing in clinical trials is essential to better understand this link, ”she adds.
Prebiotic fiber may offer a solution to help support overall digestive and immune health by promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. Unfortunately, Ackermann warns, many popular prebiotic fiber options require high inclusion levels to be effective.
“For example, higher inclusion rates make many prebiotic supplements, foods and drinks impractical. Many prebiotic fiber options, including inulin, are also oligosaccharides, a type of fiber that the popular low-FODMAP diet warns people to avoid due to tolerance issues, ”he points out. she.
New prebiotics are evolving
Fortunately, a new class of premium prebiotic fibers is coming to the market with lower inclusion rates and better tolerance to address these concerns. According to Comet Bio, these prebiotic fibers are designed to provide functional benefits while being more versatile and easier to incorporate.
Arrabina from Comet Bio is a prebiotic arabinoxylan fiber, which has a longer chain polysaccharide structure which makes it better tolerated by the gut than oligosaccharides.
The results of the latest clinical trial of Comet Bio revealed that consumers could take up to 15g of Arrabina per day without a negative bowel or bowel reaction. Arrabina also claims “higher potency” with effective inclusion levels as low as 3.4g.
“New prebiotic fiber options with lower inclusion levels and higher tolerance will make it easier for manufacturers to meet this growing demand,” Ackermann adds. “By incorporating prebiotic fiber into existing products, consumers can more easily meet their gut health needs and the recommended daily intake of fiber.”
Comet Bio uses its patented recycling technology to produce innovative ingredients from crop scraps based in Ontario, Canada, and Illinois, United States. The company recently completed a US $ 22 million Series C financing.
Troyer adds, “We just completed a fundraising round totaling $ 25 million, which will fuel our R&D, product development and operations.
The proprietary production process allows it to extract the prebiotic arabinoxylan for Arrabina from a variety of hemicellulose sources, including brewer’s preserved beans, soybean hulls and corn stalks.
Arabinoxylan occurs naturally in the cell walls of many plants and is well known in the nutrition community. “However, extracting it in a soluble form has been difficult and expensive,” notes Troyer. “But our approach, using water and pressure, produces pure, highly soluble arabinoxylan at a price that allows for wide commercialization.”
The new facility will start with wheat straw, the raw material for Comet Bio’s Arrabina commercial line of prebiotic fibers.
“We continue to innovate using our patented upcycling technology by adjusting operating conditions to achieve different specifications for Arrabina prebiotic fiber. There is a range of molecular weights within arabinoxylan that you can fine-tune to provide different health benefits, ”says Troyer.
“We can adjust the process to produce different specifications of arabinoxylan, such as a lighter colored product or a more potent immunity product. Having a wider range of Arrabina product qualities allows us to better meet the unique application needs of our F&B customers, ”he concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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