Finnish group Raisio, which makes the cholesterol-lowering ingredient Benecol, has launched a pasta containing the health-promoting substance.
Benecol pasta, a sample of which was displayed at the Health Ingredients Europe show in Paris in September, will be marketed by the group's Raisio Nutrition unit.
Trial marketing of the product was introduced in Finland at the beginning of the month, before the Benecol pasta reaches shelves in the company's home market of countries in the Baltic region. Eventually the pasta will be available in all countries covered by the Raisio unit - this excludes the markets where the company's marketing partner McNeil Consumer Nutritionals sells Benecol products, explained Lippo Liponkoski, director of ingredient sales at Raisio Life Sciences.
The pasta is described as a regular durum wheat pasta fortified with Benecol. A portion of 70 grams of pasta is said to contain half of a daily dose (1.67g) of Benecol. Benecol, which is made from plant stanol esters, is targeted at people with elevated cholesterol levels and has been shown effective in several clinical studies.
A 350 gram pack of Benecol pasta will cost around €1,60 in most retailers, compared to the cost of regular pasta from €0,80 - €1,00 for a similar packet.
The aim is to develop several special pastas, such as oatpasta, containing the Benecol ingredient, added Liponkoski.
Benecol is already available in a number of different foods, including a variety of spreads, milk, yoghurts, cream cheese and snack bars, depending on the market. Raisio Nutrition recently launched a Benecol rapeseed product in liquid form.
While the company has struggled to make money on Benecol, the Life Sciences unit (which makes the ingredient) made a profit in the 2002 third quarter after a long loss-making run and achieved good growth in sales during the period.