What’s new: Latest launches, business and brand news


US plant-based protein specialist secures USD10 million investment

Plant-based omega-3 pioneer, Qualitas Health, DBA iwi, has secured $10 million in venture funds at a $73million post-money valuation. The investment round is being led by foodTech investor PeakBridge VC, Malta, together with Arancia Group.  The investment is intended to accelerate growth and build the company’s innovative plant-based protein.

iwi is a global producer of high absorption polar lipid EPA omega-3. A distinctive feature of  iwi’s process is that it relies on saltwater, with the sun as the main source of energy and places zero strain on the natural ecosystem. iwi says that it has “disrupted the algae-farming paradigm” by growing its microscopic algae in cultivation pond systems the size of football stadiums built on non-arable land in the pristine deserts of New Mexico and Texas.

“This investment will be instrumental to accelerating growth in 2021 as iwi advances to the industrial pilot stage of our unique plant-based protein, start the regulatory process, and conduct additional clinical studies,” says Miguel Calatayud, CEO of Qualitas Health. This uniquely sourced, complete plant protein will be ready for commercialization in 2022.”

‘Mums in mind’: BetterYou teams with Madeleine Shaw

Award-winning natural health brand, BetterYou, has teamed up with nutritional therapist, best-selling cookery writer, chef and mother, Madeleine Shaw, to develop a range of nutritional oral sprays to support every stage of motherhood; from conception to pregnancy, children’s health to getting your glow back.

Shaw says: “From pregnancy, to boosting my vitamin D and now, my son uses the products too, so this collaboration is a real dream come true for me. 

“I’m so excited to share this truly unique, pill-free nutritional range with you, developed with those starting – and caring for – a family in mind. I hope you enjoy this way of supplementing as much as I do!” 

Madeleine Shaw. Image, BetterYou

Viridian names elderberry ‘Ingredient of the Year’

Elderberry has been announced by UK-based ethical vitamin company Viridian Nutrition as its Ingredient of the Year 2021.

The intensely deep purple-black berries, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra, has been forecasted by experts at the company to be significant in the field of nutrition and health in the year ahead.

Viridian’s direction of nutrition Aimee Benbow, said: “Elderberry is a fascinating nutrient rich ingredient which has gained considerable attention and featured in many clinical trials demonstrating its health properties. 

“Our NPD team have been following the studies with huge interest. We strongly believe Elderberry will continue to gain prominence in the nutrition and health field.” 

Epax Norway AS receives funding to explore new marine fatty acid

Alesund, Norway-headquartered marine lipid specialist Epax has been awarded a grant worth around 760,000 EUR to research the potential of new fatty acids for human health.

Epax, which produces a range of omega-3 products with different concentrations of EPA and DHA, has received a Norwegian Research Council award of eight million Norwegian Kroner (around 760,000 EUR) over four years. This will help it conduct further biological research into the benefits of “new” Omega-3 fatty acids in areas such as brain health, eye health, skin health and fertility.

Kerry acquires Canadian probiotic specialist Bio-K Plus

Ireland’s Kerry group has acquired Canadian probiotic specialist Bio-K Plus International. Bio-K Plus is a leading probiotic company with a range of clinically-supported probiotic beverage and supplement applications in the North American market. 

This acquisition expands Kerry’s portfolio of probiotics and reflects the growing number of consumers who are becoming more proactive in their approach to managing their health and are turning to functional foods, beverages and supplements that are made with clinically supported functional ingredients. Bio-K Plus products are formulated with three proprietary and clinically validated strains of probiotics which have confirmed efficacy for a range of therapeutic benefits, including the prevention of side effects resulting from antibiotic use.

Prinova launches nanoparticle-free vitamin D

Global ingredients and premix specialist Prinova has developed a premium line of nanoparticle-free vitamin D powders that will enable food, beverage and nutrition businesses to tap into growing demand for products containing the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Oil-based formats are also available.

The launch comes at a time of intense interest in the micronutrient,  particularly as more evidence emerges of a link between low vitamin D status and severe Covid-19 outcomes. 

Prinova’s vitamin D portfolio comprises vitamin D3 from cholecalciferol, which is manufactured in Europe, and vitamin D2 from ergocalciferol, which is made in the USA and is suitable for vegans.