Coronavirus crisis fuelling demand for immune-boosting foods

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Food ingredients maker Chr Hansen said it had seen an increase in demand during the coronavirus crisis for products that help to strengthen the immune system, which was likely to kickstart innovation in the food industry.

Chr. Hansen, whose customers include the world’s largest food manufacturers such as Nestle and Danone, said the pandemic had given the company a short-term boost, as locked down consumers opted for frozen pizzas and food containing probiotics for immune system support.

“I am slightly more cautious going forward, as the world enters a recessionary environment with a high level of unemployment,” Chief Executive Mauricio Graber said in an interview.

“But food safety, hygiene and where the food comes from will be very important in consumers’ minds,” Graber said.

The Copenhagen-based company, which sells enzymes and bacteria used in products like dairy, dietary supplements and wine, said it had seen rising demand for probiotics, live bacteria used in yoghurt and dietary supplements.

“As we go back to a more normal life, people will begin to consider what they can do to strengthen their immune systems and prevent a severe effect from a pandemic infection,” Graber said.

He also said that changing consumer demands would likely kickstart innovation of new food products which had come to a halt during the lockdown, when both food manufacturers and consumers opted for the most basic products.

Chr. Hansen on Thursday reported earnings before interest, tax and special items for the third quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year of 96.5 million euros, up from 91.7 million in the previous quarter, on revenue of 313.8 million, both in line with analysts’ expectations.

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