Weight control is in the news again today with agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland announcing the roll out of a cooking oil to help combat obesity. Manufactured from soybean and canola oil the product has already been received with success in Japan.
"Enova oil is an exciting and entirely new type of oil, the first and only cooking oil that can help millions of Americans with their struggle to maintain a healthy weight and fight obesity," said G. Allen Andreas, ADM chairman and chief executive.
The product, which received GRAS status in 2000, will be marketed by ADM Kao, a joint venture formed in early 2001 between ADM and the Kao Corporation of Japan. Developed in Japan by Kao, Enova oil was introduced as Healthy Econa Cooking Oil in 1999.
The oil is produced from a patented process that increases concentrations of diacylglycerol (DAG), a naturally occurring component found in all vegetable oils.
According to ADM, while Enova oil contains the same amount of calories and fat as conventional oils, it is metabolised differently. Because of its chemical structure, more Enova oil is burned directly by the body as energy, rather than stored as fat. The company this week cited a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (76, p. 1230-6) and completed by the Chicago Center for Clinical Research, that showed that, over a 24-week period, people who incorporated Enova oil into a calorie-controlled diet reduced their weight by an average of 3.6 per cent, and their body fat mass by 8.3 per cent.
Enova oil, to be sold in 20 ounce bottles, will initially be available in the Atlanta and Chicago metro regions, beginning as early as January 2003. ADM Kao is working with US companies to incorporate Enova oil into a wide range of prepared foods, including bottled salad dressing, margarine and mayonnaise.
When ADM announced the joint venture some 18 months ago it claimed that the ADM Kao partnership had the capacity to generate up to $400 million in sales in both trade and consumer markets in the US, Europe and the rest of the world. Food industry players, in particular those keen to expand into the health foods domain, will be no doubt following the progress of this product closely.