The heart health category is likely to broaden significantly in the next couple of years as manufacturers start to incorporate cholesterol-lowering plant sterol esters into dressings, sauces, bread, mayonnaise, cheeses, soya drinks, yoghurts and even peanut butter, ingredients giant Cognis has claimed.
"The main functional food categories in Europe are beverages and dairy products, but it is expected that the applications will be much broader in the near future," said Cognis global market segment manager, functional food, Dr Franz Timmermann. "Sterols are very stable at high temperatures and only a small loss is detectable at temperatures above 200°C. As sterols are esterified with unsaturated fatty acids, oxidation at the fatty acid chain may occur at certain stages of processing. However, food companies are accustomed to using vegetable oils and therefore to working with ingredients susceptible to oxidation, so this is not an issue."
Cognis's non-GM Vegepure plant sterol esters, which are derived from wood and rape seed oil, are available as oils for foods such as spreads and dressings, and as a water dispersible powder for other applications such as soya drinks, nutrition bars and dairy products, he added.
The company's Euro 20m investment at Illertissen in Germany to make plant sterol esters and conjugated linoleic acids shows its commitment to Vegepure, said Timmermann.
Contact: Cognis, Tel: 0049 2117 940 9692