Dublin, Ireland—Kerry has agreed to acquire Canada-based Bio-K Plus International, according to a press release.

The acquisition expands Kerry’s probiotics portfolio, the press release says, and reflects the growing number of consumers who are turning to functional foods and beverages to support their health. Bio-K Plus products are formulated with three strains that have confirmed benefits, including the prevention of side effects resulting from antibiotic use.

Kerry has been developing its position in functional ingredients for several years; the press release notes the acquisitions of Wellmune in 2015 and GanedenBC30 in 2017. Today, 69% of consumers globally are more likely to pay attention to nutritional benefits when purchasing food and drink, demand which has accelerated as a result of COVID-19.

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Neil Cracknell, President Kerry Applied Health & Nutrition, said in the press release: “We are committed to creating a world of sustainable nutrition and this acquisition will support our ambition to reach over two billion people with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030. Research has shown that consumers are increasingly looking for nutritional benefits when purchasing food and drink and that products which contain probiotics that improve gut health are specifically in demand. Bio-K Plus further expands our portfolio of probiotics with the addition of three science-backed strains as we continue to help enhance the health & wellness of consumers across the globe by having a strong complement of published clinical trials confirming efficacy.”