Details of the agreement were not disclosed by the companies, but they said that the deal is looked at on 'a long term basis.'
Designed to decrease fat and calories and increase healthy insoluble fibre in a variety of products - including cheese, baked goods, meat products, dressings and confectionery - Z-Trim is a patented corn-based ingredient originally developed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The ingredient was launched in Europe in December by Swiss marketing group DKSH, which said it would target major food makers, currently under pressure to increase the nutritional value of their products and reduce fat, in response to the global obesity epidemic.
Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck has repeatedly stated that the company is hoping to win a bigger slice of the fast growing market for nutritional products, and that it will invest heavily in new product development and brand support in the next few years. There have so far been but a few signs of this drive towards the functional food market.
The DKSH contract is FiberGel's first major entry into the overseas food industry. The Zurich-based firm, which operates in more than 35 countries, will also roll out the product to Asian markets. The market for fat replacement ingredients is growing rapidly and is expected to exceed $10 billion in the next five years.
Fiber Gel recently announced that it would launch Z-Trim to the US consumer market, selling it over the Internet and by phone.