News | February 10, 2000

Novartis Forms Joint Venture with Quaker Oats in Functional Foods

The Quaker Oats Co. (Chicago, IL) has formed a joint venture with Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. (Summit, NJ) to form Altus Food Co., a new functional foods company to be headquartered in Chicago. The company will develop and market foods that are specifically formulated and scientifically proven health benefits beyond basic nutrition. The new foods will be distributed in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Altus will have access to Quaker's brand marketing and selling, nutrition science, taste technology and manufacturing to pursue leadership in functional foods. Future products are expected to include proprietary ingredients that provide tangible health benefits. Altus plans to focus on the healthcare concerns of women, children, athletes and maturing adults.

Consumers these days are more nutrition-conscious than ever, according to the American Dietetic Association in its Trends 2000 survey, with nine out of 10 saying nutrition is important to their health. Taste still remains the primary factor driving food purchases.

In addition, the ADA survey also stated that although many consider functional foods the leading trend in the food industry, the survey found that just 21% had heard of functional foods, 68% said they are foods that are "healthy" or "good for you." 17% defined functional foods as providing energy or helping in athletic performance. (To see related article, click here). According to Quaker Oats "communication" will be the key source in getting the word out on functional foods.

"Quaker Oats' expertise in consumer marketing can only benefit the products that the new company, Altus will be distributing in our joint venture with Novartis Consumer Health," said Mark Dollins, spokesperson for Quaker. "It will be our consumer marketing and communication with consumers that will raise the level of awareness within the functional foods category."

The two companies each will invest 50% in the new venture and share profits equally.

Edited by Christine Fraser