The European Commission recently approved the use of plant sterols and sterol esters in foods such as milk, cheese products and sauces, opening up a range of new applications for functional food companies.
However it also released a generic regulation on phytosterol labelling to apply to all sterol-based foods, including those already on the market, with a detailed reference to the recommended daily dose of up to 3 grams per day.
This means that the food industry will need to work harder to design foods that are compact enough to contain this amount in a single serving.
Jouko Broman, vice president of sales and marketing at Raisio Benecol, commented in an interview earlier this year: "We understand the precaution for limiting the dosage of sterols but it makes the pack size of the food important. The food industry will have to get creative to get around this."
The regulation also requires manufacturers to provide information to guide and target the use of the products to people with an elevated cholesterol level. The labelling shall also clearly indicate who must not use the products.