Kappa Bioscience is venturing into the vitamin K2 milk category in China, on top of its existing vitamin K2 nutraceutical business, after its synthetic-origin vitamin K2 MK-7 (menaquinone-7) was approved by China authorities for use in mother and children milk powder.
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Powdered milk with baby bottle of milk on green background

This is also the first synthetically made vitamin K2 that is approved by the Chinese authorities. Vitamin K2 is traditionally made by fermentation.

The Norwegian vitamin K2 specialist was notified of the approval for its ingredient, sold under the tradename K2VITAL, in mid-Jan, about three months after it submitted documents to the Chinese authorities.

The approval also covers the company’s microencapsulated vitamin K2, sold under the tradename K2VITAL DELTA.

Vitamin K2 is usually used for providing synergistic benefits to calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 in a formulation.

Globally, it is most commonly sold as a nutraceutical product, but in Asia there has been a growing awareness of incorporating it into milk, especially in the case of Vietnam, Peter Wisler, director of global distributor management at Kappa Bioscience told NutraIngredients-Asia.​

He said that in Vietnam, about two-third of the company’s vitamin K2 sales are for dairy applications, and there was growing interest in Malaysia and the Philippines.

The company believes that the trend will also catch up in China and has already set itself for negotiations with major Chinese dairy players.

“We are talking to all of those major players partially because they are already quite familiar with it (vitamin K2 fortified milk) and now they can also legally use it in food. There are some exciting times ahead,” ​Wisler said.

With this, the company will be present in both nutra and food businesses in China, and Wisler sees the child nutrition segment as a good entry point.

“When you look at the bone health segment, you ought to do it in the childhood, because when you get to adult, you can only manage a condition.”​

As for its existing business in China, he said that the company’s vitamin K2 were used in “blue-hat” products.

Other than China, the company’s vitamin K2 was approved as safe for use in Mexico.

Organic synthesis Vs fermentation​

According to the company, because of the high purity of the end-product, producing vitamin K2 via organic synthesis of flower extracts leads to a higher cost efficiency.

Wisler added that its microencapsulated vitamin K2 also gave the product a greater stability especially for formulations that include minerals.

To do list​

Moving forward, the company plans to explore the incorporation of vitamin K2 into snacks, such as cereals and protein bars.

Wisler said that this was to tap on the fast consumption growth in snacks.

At this stage, dairy and powders remain the more common options.

As for the areas of application, he said that there was scope to explore the incorporation of vitamin K2 in weight management supplements to maintain intake of calcium and other nutrients vital to bone health.

A former Fonterra consultant and a molecular biologist have teamed up to create lab-grown milk proteins without the need for a cow.

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