All three brands – previously owned by Dutch firm Lipid Nutrition – have been on sale in the US for a while.
However, new owner Illinois-based Stepan Company aims to extend their reach – particularly in the North American food and drink market - and increase sales of its Neobee medium chain triglycerides in Europe.
A 'stronger supplier to all markets'
Marinol, Clarinol and PinnoThin will be integrated into Stepan’s Food and Health Specialties business in New Jersey (to be renamed Stepan Lipid Nutrition), said the firm.
“Stepan Food & Health Specialties’ primary markets are food, flavor, and infant formula. Lipid Nutrition’s strengths are in the dietary supplements market. The new Stepan Lipid Nutrition will be a stronger supplier to all markets.”
The brands will be manufactured in New Jersey as well as at existing outside contract manufacturers, added business manager Emile Henein.
“For the most part manufacturing locations will remain until further notice. Stepan had been a supplier to Lipid Nutrition for years and holds several patents for the manufacture of Conjugated Linoleic Acid [used in the Clarinol brand].
Integration will take around 90 days
He added: “The combined Stepan Lipid Nutrition business will operate multiple processes for the production of CLA in the US and Europe and will increase our available volume in respective regions around the world. Expansions plans are also being reviewed during the integration.
“Lipid Nutrition has had a sales force in place in the US and select members have been included in the new organization. All three brands have been selling in the US and growing at rates similar to the sports nutrition, weight management, and omega-3 categories.”
The integration would take around 90 days, he said, with business management activities to be centralized in Stepan’s Maywood, New Jersey facility, and a new European sales and operations office to be set up in the Netherlands.
“We will move from Wormerveer during the integration phase into a new office near Amsterdam to be determined soon. It will be managed by retained members of the former Lipid Nutrition organization.”
Clarinol CLA is established in the dietary supplements market and is being pitched to food and drink manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic following GRAS approval in the US in 2008 and anticipated Novel Foods approval in Europe (expected any time now following last year's positive safety assessments).
However, it has fared less well on the health claims front in the EU, with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently dismissing claims about a range of claimed benefits for CLA.
EFSA was also unconvinced about claims that Korean pine nut oil (used in PinnoThin), could deliver a sustained increase in satiety leading to a reduction in energy intake.
But Henein remained upbeat about their prospects: “Despite the EFSA health claims challenges, these products are still being used and growing quite well. The food approvals in Europe will be supported and we intend to continue our efforts in this area [fresh applications have recently been submitted under article 13.5 of the EU health claims regulation about CLA and body fat reduction].”
In a Q&A sheet produced for customers, Stepan Company said it had acquired the brands because “Stepan and Lipid Nutrition recognized synergies in markets served as well as applied technologies within the field of nutritional oils."
It added: “Stepan Lipid Nutrition will target additional market segments, many of which are experiencing high growth rates. The new global portfolio will serve the food, nutritional and pharmaceutical industries, and include the following segments:
- Weight management
- Sports nutrition
- Infant and clinical nutrition
- Infant formula
- Medical food
- Pharmaceutical excipients
- Dietary supplements
- Pet food
- Animal feed
- Veterinary applications.
- Functional food.”
Stepan Company is a leading producer of surfactants, but also supplies flavors, emulsifiers and solubilizers used in the food and pharmaceutical industries.