Cognis boosts vitamin E range with non-GM oils

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vitamin e

German specialty chemicals group Cognis is hoping to revive
depressed sales of its natural vitamin E with a new range of non-GM
oils for use in supplements and foods targeted at GM-wary

The company, like other suppliers of vitamin E, has been hit hard by negative media reports, particularly in the US, following a series of studies at the end of last year that claimed to show adverse effects of vitamin E consumption.

Compounding the resulting fall in demand for vitamin E supplements, new laws that require the labelling of GM ingredients in Europe raised problems for the natural-source vitamin.

Natural vitamin E is made from the distillate produced during vegetable oil processing but these oils are increasingly derived from GM plants such as soya. Finding, tracing and segregating raw material from traditional, non-GM crops has proved challenging for suppliers of many ingredients used in the natural products industry, including vitamin E.

After securing a stable supply of identity preserved (IP) non-GM raw material, Cognis initially concentrated on offering non-GM vitamin E powders, sold in higher volumes than the oils.

It has now added a range of non-GM vitamin E oils, which will be introduced at next month's SupplySide West.

Christine Peggau, in charge of marketing the group's supplement range, said the company now offers the "broadest portfolio of non-GM natural vitamin E products"​ on the market.

The range will see strongest demand from international marketers seeking to supply the European market as well as niche US ranges that place an emphasis on natural, non-GM ingredients.

Peggau noted that the products come with a premium price, above the already substantial price charged for natural vitamin E over synthetic variants.

However she told "We feel very confident in the strong demand for this product. Additionally there is an increasing focus on different vitamin E forms - showing that they are not all equal - and we feel that natural vitamin E is going to come out on top."

Industry sources suggest that restricted demand for non-GM vitamin E caused some supplement makers to switch back to synthetic versions of the vitamin.

Cognis is hoping to recapture these sales.

Earlier this year, Paul Allen, vice president of the Nutrition and Health unit, said that first quarter sales were "severely depressed as a result of sensational press reports following the publication of studies relating to the efficacy and safety of vitamin E".

He noted that the adverse impact on consumer demand of this publicity would "not be easily reversed in the short term".

Leiner Health has also commented on the impact of media coverage of recent research on its financial results.

Peggau noted however that studies showing the benefits of vitamin E have been reported in recent months.

"The expanded portfolio demonstrates our commitment to the vitamin E market,"​ she added.

The new non-GM oils include Covitol F1000-2 EU, targeted at encapsulators, and F-1300 EU. Covitol oils composed of d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate include 1100 EU and 1250 EU. The three new mixed tocopherol oils are Covi-ox T-50 EU, and T-70 EU, and T-90 EU.

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