Eugene's phytosterol technology has been marketed by agribusiness Archer Daniels Midlands (ADM) as part of its CardioAid family of ingredients in Europe and North America. According to Eugene, its manufacturing technique allows phytosterols to be added to high-cholesterol, fat-soluble food such as yogurt, soup, ice cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, salad oil, dressing and margarine.
The company said this patent is soon to be registered in countries with large cholesterol markets such as United States, Japan, Europe and Australia, in addition to Korea and Taiwan and "is expected to prepare a turning point in the demand and commercialization of the source technology".
The phytosterol market is growing due to strong research showing the benefits of the ingredient and the recently approved heart health claim helping to raise the profile of these natural compounds.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) heart disease health claim for phytosterols has been in effect since 2003 and says, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, vegetable oil sterol esters "may reduce the risk of heart disease".
The claim calls for a serving of at least 0.65g of the sterol esters twice daily with meals.
Market analyst Frost & Sullivan has estimated the US phytosterol market will almost double from 2005 figures to $196.7m by 2012. This growth potential is at least in part driven by heart diseases, which are blamed for approximately 50 per cent of all mortalities in the industrialized world.
Despite Eugene's assertion that applications for plant sterols have been limited due to the difficulty in applying them a wide variety of foodstuffs, the company's phytosterol business appears to have gone well.
The company is set to double construction capacity with an addition to its facility in South Korea.