Joining forces for success


Omya and GELITA develop a prototype drink for bone health


Working together with other companies can bring many benefits. All parties can profit from each other’s expertise, and potential new avenues can be explored. Take, for instance, the partnership between calcium expert Omya and GELITA, a leading supplier of collagen peptides. With the aim of providing preventive support for mobility and health into old age, the two ingredients manufacturers have developed a novel beverage concept for bone health. In joining forces, two different approaches to the same problem have been combined to achieve one innovative solution. As both calcium and collagen peptides are important for healthy bones, they make the perfect combination.

Omyaforte™ for calcium

Osteoporosis causes about nine million bone fractures worldwide every year. As well as having personal implications for the individuals affected, these injuries place great strain on healthcare systems. Consumers can, however, take steps to protect their bones – for example by following a balanced diet that supplies sufficient nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from an early age. In particular, the mineral calcium plays an important role here.

Unfortunately, for many people – especially athletes, senior citizens, and those whose diet does not include dairy products – it can be difficult to get enough calcium. At certain times of life, such as during adolescence and the menopause, the body also needs more calcium, which often cannot be provided by the normal diet. Functional foods and beverages can help to bridge the nutritional gap.

Swiss mineral expert Omya offers manufacturers a highly bioavailable calcium with Omyaforte™. With its 39% elemental calcium content, Omyaforte™ is an ideal source of the mineral, and it has significantly higher bioavailability than other calcium sources, such as calcium citrates. Thus, even with a small amount of Omyaforte™, the recommended daily dose can be achieved without affecting the texture or taste of end products. Taking Omyaforte™ as the starting point for the creation of a new prototype product for bone health, Omya looked for an active ingredient that would be an optimal complement.

Katja Reichenbach, Head of Product Management Consumer Goods Europe at Omya, explains: “It was important to us to create a coherent and outstanding product. Therefore, it had to be an ingredient whose properties would work well with Omyaforte™.”

The solution lay in collagen, another essential natural nutrient for bone health.

FORTIBONE® – Bioactive Collagen Peptides® for better bone density

Omya turned to collagen peptide expert GELITA. Headquartered in Germany, GELITA relies on solid scientific foundations in the development of its products and carries out numerous pre-clinical and clinical studies to prove their effectiveness. Based on such studies, the company developed FORTIBONE®, specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides® that have a positive effect on bone density, stimulating collagen metabolism and helping to form new bone tissue. Clinical studies have shown that bone density increases significantly while bone resorption reduces significantly after a regular intake of just five grams of FORTIBONE® per day.

Overcoming challenges

Working together to achieve the perfect bone health beverage concept, Omya and GELITA placed great emphasis on the sensory properties of the drink. Apart from convenience and nutritional benefits, taste is the most important consideration for manufacturers of functional nutritional products and, above all, for their consumers. Since neither FORTIBONE® nor Omyaforte™ have a noticeable impact on taste and texture, both ingredients are ideal for use in a wide variety of food and beverage concepts. Manufacturers do not have to worry about involving complex masking processes. The development team decided on a cocoa drink because milk and milk drinks are already strongly associated by consumers with healthy bones.

The team developed a basic concept, and looked for a contract manufacturer who could develop the final formulation and produce the end product. The search for a partner here was not straightforward, since many such companies only offer large scale production and the aim was just to produce a comparatively small number of concept samples. However, a suitable match was found in Biohealth International GmbH (BHI).

“Based on our specifications, BHI developed an initial formulation. A rounded, cocoa-containing, slightly sweet taste and a soft, smooth mouthfeel were particularly important to us. Both ourselves and GELITA received laboratory samples for evaluation, which all team members tasted. We then returned our comments and BHI was able to adapt the recipe. After only one round of alterations, we had the final formulation,” explains Katja Reichenbach.

The result is a cocoa-based powder that has a delicious taste as well as bone density-increasing health benefits. One serving (25g) contains 240mg calcium – enough to provide 30% of the recommended daily amount of the mineral – and 5g of FORTIBONE® Bioactive Collagen Peptides. The powder dissolves easily in 200ml cold or warm milk, water, or any milk alternative.

Distance no object

Multi-company projects can potentially be challenging, for example because of geographical distances. But the joint project between GELITA and Omya was implemented without any problems. After an in-person meeting at GELITA’s base in Eberbach in October 2019, further meetings were held on digital platforms, with team members discussing and developing the solution to their common goal, from the initial idea to the final prototype. A period of six months was set for the entire development, which was strictly adhered to – a precision landing.

Both companies describe their partnership as pioneering and extremely successful: “Our relationship shows that it is worthwhile creating synergies that can result in tailor-made product solutions for our customers. Consumer requirements are becoming increasingly complex, so it makes sense to continue to follow such paths in the future. We are incredibly happy about this partnership with GELITA, whose exciting portfolio offers a great deal of potential for further concept developments,” says Katja Reichenbach.

GELITA is also convinced. “Our first joint project with Omya was a complete success. The bone health, sports and active nutrition sectors offer many opportunities for additional innovative product ideas. Best agers as well as amateur and professional athletes are looking for targeted support for health and wellbeing through nutrition. We look forward to working together on other joint projects in future,” says Franziska Dolle, Product & Account Manager Health & Nutrition and Global Product Manager FORTIBONE® at GELITA.



Omya International AG
Baslerstrasse 42,
4665 Oftringen


Uferstraße 7, 69412 Eberbach