Forbes lifts marketing capabilities in US

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sterol

Canada's Forbes Medi-Tech is hoping that a new distribution deal
coupled with new findings on the benefits of lowering cholesterol
will boost sales of its key product Reducol.

The company announced a new licensing deal on Friday with the New York-based supplier Marco Hi-Tech, expected to expand its presence on the US market.

Reducol, made from plant sterols extracted from by-products of the forestry industry, is already available in NatureMade brand dietary supplements, manufactured by Pharmavite for mass market channels.

Forbes​ will be looking to gain new customers operating in natural health food stores under the four-year contract with Marco Hi-Tech.

Expanded marketing and distribution of the cholesterol-lowering ingredient will be further boosted by recent research showing the benefit to heart health of lowering cholesterol beyond levels previously recommended by most physicians.

Phytosterols have been notoriously difficult to bring to market, both in the US and in Europe. But the increasing body of evidence to support their effects on LDL cholesterol reduction was recognized in a FDA health claim last year. Since then, a handful of functional foods, including Hain Celestial's rice-based drink and a Minute Maid orange juice, have been launched and there are new product introductions in the supplement category too, with GNC set to add Cargill's phytosterol ingredient CoroWise.

Anticipating increased demand, Forbes last year said it would increase sterol production from 1000 to 1500 metric tones. It is already the world's largest non-genetically modified sterol source and is currently awaiting an approval from European authorities to allow use of Reducol in foods.

The ingredient is also available in Australia and New Zealand although the US remains the biggest market for Reducol.

Jeff Motley, vice president of sales at Forbes Medi-Tech, said: "This is an important step in the continued successful commercialization of Reducol as Marco Hi-Tech has the capabilities to penetrate this growing market."

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