Mikko Laavainen, vice president, sales & marketing confirmed to NutraIngredients.com that this is the first time that the ingredient has been incorporated in olive oil, and that the company will be looking to extend this to other markets outside of Portugal. "This is a new opportunity and a new possibility for consumers," said Laavainen. Raisio quotes two important factors to support the market introduction of an olive oil enhanced with health-improving ingredients in Portugal - Firstly, the potential market growth for olive oil looks promising in Portugal, and, secondly, the significance of olive oil on the fats markets will increase; it is believed that it alone will capture all the growth - olive oil currently accounts for 57 per cent of the value of the market. Raisio's Portuguese partners GL have snatched a head-start in this area and have introduced a high-quality olive oil containing the cholesterol-lowering ingredient, building on an existing partnership with Raisio that saw the introduction of a cholesterol-lowering Benecol yoghurt. "Our goal is to create a health segment in the olive oil market, to be the benchmark company in this segment, and to continue to launch value-added, innovative olive oil products to consumers who want to manage their well-being in a natural and convenient way," said Teresa Dias, GL's marketing operations. According to GL, the reasons behind the partnership are simple, with Benecol the leading brand in its sector, strong scientific evidence of effectiveness, the brand's ability to generate customer loyalty, investments in research and development, and a strong partnership programme. "We are very pleased that GL has chosen to cooperate with Raisio Benecol," said Anniina Honkanen, marketing manager from Raisio Benecol. "Our unique business model - to partner with the local food industry and to combine the expertise of the local industry with the scientific and marketing knowledge of the Benecol team - has functioned very well this time also."