The product is making a cholesterol-lowering claim and comes after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) last year issued a negative opinion for soy protein and cholesterol after it found cholesterol-lowering effects could not be directly linked to soy protein, but may have been due to other soy constituents such as isoflavones.
How ever the company said that opinion, which has not yet been approved in EU law books, did not inform its sterol fortification decision.
Alpro soya Plus is fortified with calcium and vitamin D and the soy content will be marketed with a “100% plant goodness” sell, noting the plant protein content in soy, its environmental benefits compared to cow’s milk and the fact it is low in saturated fat.
“Being 100% plant-based, it uses 3 times less land, 2.5 times less water and generates 5 times less CO2 emissions to produce 1 litre of Alpro Plus compared to cows’ milk,” the company said in a statement.
“This makes Alpro soya Plus the smarter way to lower cholesterol; better for the individual and for the planet.”
The vitamin D and calcium content is being linked to bone health along with the EU-approved sterol-stanol cholesterol-lowering claim.
EFSA soy protein opinion
In August 2010 EFSA rejected a claim submitted by the Soya Protein Association (SPA), the European Vegetable Protein Federation (EUVEPRO), and the European Natural Soyfood Manufacturers Association (ENSA) that stated: “Soy protein has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol; blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of (coronary) heart disease.”
Its health claims panel recognised that soy isoflavones had a statistically significant effect on cholesterol levels in at least one study in the dossier it viewed, but said the evidence did not back the effects of the protein constituents of soy.
The panel said other constituents that could have had a bearing on any statistically significant effects included fat and fatty acids, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, soy fibre, and soy isoflavones.