This development strengthens the stabilized rice bran manufacturer's presence in the region, and follows closely on the heels of its announcement of a partnership with Indonesia's P.T. Panganmas Inti Persada for manufacture of the nutritional ingredient. The manufacturer is looking to expand its presence in Southeast Asia because of the widespread consumption of rice in the region, as well as its development needs. "Forging this relationship with Cosway is part of our overall business plan to utilize Nutracea's stabilized rice bran in an area of the world where rice is an integral part of the diet and culture and the raw material is abundant," said Nutracea CEO Leo Gingras. The US company has a humanitarian underpinning to its business. It company first intended its ricebran technology to be used for nutrition in humanitarian causes. However, the manufacturer now also intends to leverage the ingredient's growth potential in the mainstream functional food industry to support the humanitarian aim of bringing a cost efficient ingredient to the developing world. Stabilized rice bran is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that is normally discarded during rice processing. The Phoenix, Arizona-based manufacturer has been promoting the ingredient as a means of eradicating malnutrition around the world, through the use of what is generally discarded as a waste product, but said it needs the financing from activities in the food industry first in order to make this viable. According to Nutracea, Cosway works with over 700,000 businesses in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. These businesses will begin selling the manufacturer's Stabilized Rice Bran Plus in October and the idea is for them to then develop and launch more products based on the ingredient. As part of the partnership, Cosway will carry out the legwork for NutraCea by educating its network of distributors on the health benefits of the stabilized rice bran. "We are very excited about the launch of Stabilized Rice Bran Plus and we are launching a substantial campaign to support and educate our independent business owners on the health benefits of this miraculous food," said Cosway managing director and founder, Al Chuah. In June, Nutracea announced the manufacturing partnership with PT Panganmas Inti Persada. It said at the time that the target countries in the venture have an annual rice bran production exceeding nine million tons - more than ten times that of the US and EU production combined - which the company says will provide it will a major business opportunity.