First Benecol fruit drink to launch in Germany

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cholesterol, Mineral

German mineral water and fruit juice giant Rhoen Sprudel will
launch the first non-dairy drink containing cholesterol-lowering
ingredient Benecol.

The new product was unveiled at the Anuga tradeshow in Cologne earlier this month and will go on sale in March 2006.

The drink is based on the firm's natural mineral water with added orange and apple flavouring as well as the Benecol brand stanol esters, made by Finland's Raisio.

It will be positioned as an alternative to the fat-based products, such as milk drinks and spreads, that already contain Benecol.

Coca-Cola already offers its Minute Maid fruit juice drink with added sterols for lowering cholesterol in the US but it has been required to get novel foods approval before this kind of product can also be marketed in Europe.

Benecol does not need the same regulatory approval as it was on the European market prior to 1997 when the novel foods law came into force.

Yet it has taken some time to develop a water-based drink containing the fatty acid esters.

The new drink will first reach the German market before being rolled out to other European countries and elsewhere, export manager Birgit Gleiss told

"We will start big promotion campaigns on radio, TV and billboard advertising in February,"​ she said. "We are expecting high volumes."

The drink, which is low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals, is easier to consume with a meal than the milk-based Benecol drinks and also appeal to consumers allergic to dairy products.

Rhoen Sprudel says that after drinking one 33ml bottle of the drink everyday for two weeks, consumers will see total cholesterol lowered by 10 per cent and LDL cholesterol less 15 per cent.

Jouko Broman, head of ingredient sales at Raisio, noted that the firm still has not found a way of adding its stanol esters to clear beverages but is working on this application too.

"We expect to sell up to 200 million bottles of yoghurt drinks this year and yet we will still not have reached 1 per cent of the population that need this kind of product. There is much potential for new applications,"​ he said.

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