The Benecol brand of plant-stanol containing products has become increasingly important for the Finnish functional foods company in recent years. Despite an overall slip in operating profits in Q1 2006 reported in May, strong demand for Benecol in Europe pushed up overall ingredients sales to €13.2m, from €11.3m in Q1 2005.
The latest deal should help boost its performance further, since "is expected to grow rapidly in the near future" - and Turkey is no exception, according to Raisio.
Leatherhead International estimates the global functional foods market to be worth US$16.1 bn in 2005, with growth of 9.5 per cent anticipated in the current year.
ülker is made up of 60 countries that together make it the biggest food group in the country. Its turnover is in the region of US$6bn, and since it is already a market leader in margarine (as well as biscuits, chocolate and flour), it is well positioned to make an impact.
Products sold in Turkey will be branded Kalbim Benecol.
Raisio's Benecol brand of plant stanols first saw the light of day 11 years ago. Now there are ten different types of Benecol products sold by 20 partners in 23 different global markets.
The company has not shied away from a challenge. This year it is also taking the cholesterol-lowering food concept into Russia, where there is very little awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol, yet heart disease statistics are exceptionally high.