BioGaia has been developing the cap for many years but it has not yet made a commercial debut due to production rather than conceptual issues, according to the company. The cap stores ingredients such as probiotics, antioxidants, flavours and introduces them to a beverage at the point of consumption to protect them from humidity and light and boost efficaciousness and shelf life. BioGaia markets a straw based on the same concept that has been more successful and is available in about half a dozen markets. The collaboration Chief executive officer Peter Rothschild told NutraIngredients.com its new partner, Bericap Sarl, the French subsidiary of the German Bericap Group, had the production know-how BioGaia - which is first and foremost an ingredients supplier - lacked. "The Life Top has always been a strong concept which is why we have stuck with it," Rothschild said. "But we haven't had the technical solutions to some of the production problems that have arisen. Bericap, as one of the world's five biggest cap makers, has that knowledge so we are very excited to be working with them." The two companies will collaborate on "development, manufacture, marketing and sales". Despite the scale of its business, Bericap was a flexible partner that had much experience in niche solutions and was interesting in taking the product into new markets and product categories. Europe and North America were initial targets. Under the terms of the deal, Bericap will focus on production and distribution while BioGaia will sell and market the product through its 50 per cent-owned company Two Pac. It will also deal with ingredients and manufacture the protective aluminium blisters that house the cap's ingredients. Simple and effective "This collaboration with BioGaia follows several years of searching by Bericap to find the best compromise between an efficient system of protection for the ingredients against humidity and a simple and cost effective solution that is easy to understand and to use by the consumer" said Bericap Sarl CEO Dominique-Paul Vallé. "Our product was not good enough. Now it is good enough. Bericap liked the simplicity of it and the fact it is the only one that really protects the ingredients. Putting ingredients into a humid environment like a beverage is not easy and they are very sensitive to that," Rothschild said. He said the companies hoped to have a product on market by year's end. They would also work on developing a range of sizes and market the caps at a broad range of functional and other beverage manufacturers. "We have benefited from Bericap's network of clients and have already had discussions with their clients," he said. "
Production cost savings are also apparent as production lines did not have to be cleaned and changed every time a new ingredient was introduced.