The group says it is the first to apply for novel food permission to use conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as a food ingredient, which, if successful, will see it market Tonalin throughout Europe. The firm told NutraIngredients.com that sales of CLA in the US as a dietary supplement had been doing "very well" and that as a food ingredient it will target dairy, the beverage market and bread products. According to The World Health Organisation more than a third of Europeans are overweight, and Cognis says that consumer awareness of the need for a sensible approach to weight and body management is at an all-time high. The worldwide market for weight loss and management products is estimated at some $7bn. Dr. Ralf Zink, director of global research and development for Cognis nutrition and health explained: "Publicity about obesity rates in Europe is at an all time high and the topics of weight and body fat reduction receive acres of media coverage. "A recent study from the University of California hit the headlines, confirming what many experts and experienced dieters already knew: traditional dieting techniques don't work because people put back the weight they lost - and more - the so called 'yo-yo' effect. "Meanwhile, several government-led campaigns are targetting consumers in a bid to convert them to the idea that a sensible, long term approach is the most effective way to success weight and body fat management." There is already a body of scientific backing building up behind the benefits of dietary supplementation with CLA. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in May, found supplementation with Tonalin increased lean body mass. The results printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reinforced Cognis' claim that Tonalin reduces body fat and maintians lead body mass, which helps prevent the 'yo-yo effect' of other methods of loosing weight. Last year Cognis reported strong sales and operating profits. The German group posted a 6.2 per cent increase in sales compared to 2005, to €3.37bn, and the operating result increased 10.7 per cent to €389m. Although the group, which is owned by private equity funds, does not give detailed break-out figures for each of its business units, in nutrition and health it reported a 4.2 per cent rise in sales to €316m.