The study, carried out on Tonalin brand CLA and published in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that supplements of CLA taken over one year reduced body fat mass in subjects. It also showed no difference in adverse effects compared to placebo over the study period.Tonalin, widely available in dietary supplements, has recently been introduced for the first time in food products.
The Spanish dairy firm Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta (CAPSA) has created a new line, called NATURLínea, including a premium milk and orange juice drink with added CLA.
The milk makes claims for helping to reduce body fat and this novel concept is also supported by novel packaging. It is the first brand to use new 'combishape' cartons designed by SIG Combibloc, giving the product a distinctive oval shape. The Tonalin logo also features on the product.
Spain already has a sizeable foritified milks segment, which may have helped the product launch there but the new study will help Cognis attract bigger customers and perhaps open up access to stricter markets, according to Franz Timmerman, functional food and medical nutrition manager.
"This has a great impact for us. We had already talked about preliminary results but the big manufacturers want to see the study in published form," he said.
He added that with seven published trials on the ingredient, it is in a good position to support a health claim under future regulations.
Cognis is focusing on the dairy industry as CLA occurs naturally in milk and is therefore thought to be well suited to milk-based products but Timmerman noted that the ingredient has many other potential applications, including cereal bars and bakery products.
Cookies with added CLA, from another manufacturer, are also available on the Spanish market, although Timmerman said the ingredient was not used in significant amounts.
Cognis recently reported first quarter sales growth in its Nutrition & Health unit of 5.6 per cent, or 11 per cent adjusted for currency fluctuations. Increased sales of CLA for use in dietary supplements was one of the key drivers of this growth.