Elle Watson, 15 January 2016

A world first probiotic drink based on technology developed by an Australian university has this week begun full scale production in Mudgee.

Brisbane start-up PERKii has partnered with Mudgee’s Bevco facility to produce the probiotic juice-based drink.

Unlike other dairy-based probiotic drinks that have no live probiotics or are killed in the acidic stomach, the one billion live probiotics in PERKii are protected by Microgels developed by University of Queensland Professor Bhesh Bhandari over five years.

Microgels are tiny natural beads that encapsulate the probiotic to ensure its survival through the acidic stomach environment to the lower digestive system where the probiotics do their work.

PERKii CEO Randy Milne said Bevco has been part of the product development testing previous formulas.

“Our production partnership with Bevco is such a positive one, and I know it will continue to be this way as we work together to ensure PERKii is available to our growing customer market on a national scale,” Mr Milne said.

An added bonus of the Bevco production facility was its convenient location aiding with cross-country distribution, Mr Milne said.

The success of the drink’s trial in South East Queensland last year attracted national attention from retailers, and from mid-February PERKii will be available across Australia.

Along with a growing number of Queensland stockists, PERKii will be available at some Woolworths petrol stations.

Mr Milne said the product could make its way to Mudgee shelves if there is a retailer prepared to stock it.

“My focus is to show it is possible to deliver a healthy product, with extremely low sugar and great flavour to consumers,” Mr Milne said.

Extracted in full from the Mudgee Guardian.