The food-processing innovation, which uses enzymes to develop healthier fats and oils for use in margarine, baking and confectionery applications, was commended as a viable alternative to conventional partial hydrogenation technique that produces large amounts of trans fats.
"We are delighted that Industryweek has recognised our enzymatic interesterification technology as one of the year's leading innovations," said Stevens W. Pearce, staff scientist at Novozymes North America.
"This revolutionary development that helps deliver healthier food products while reducing the environmental impact of traditional production techniques is yet another milestone in Novozymes' portfolio of biological solutions that improve everyday lives.
"It can also help food processors avoid the formation of trans fatty acids while retaining flavour and texture."
Replacing partially hydrogenated oils with interesterified products can reduce the consumption of trans fatty acids, while increasing the use of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), essential parts of a healthy diet.
This issue is increasingly influencing product choice. Consumers are more aware than ever that trans fatty acids can lead to increased serum levels of LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.
When too much "bad" cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain resulting in atherosclerosis.
In addition, the process uses no harsh chemicals and it does not require hydrogen or sodium methoxide, both highly flammable and reactive chemicals. It also generates no wastewater or solid waste and reduces the loss of edible oils.
Novozymes has certainly been quick to develop viable alternatives for food makers, and the establishment of new market segments such as this has ensured that the enzymes market remains highly lucrative.
While the volumes of pure enzyme protein produced are very small, their value reached over $2 billion (€1.53bn) in 2004. A recent report from Business Communications Company estimates that by 2009 the market will reach €1.83 billion.
Recent research from market analysts Frost and Sullivan pinpoints these enzymes as the fastest growing segment with a compound annual growth rate of about 7.2 per cent. The market for bakery enzymes came in at €32.1 million in 2003, expected to climb to €52.3 million by 2010.
This is not the first time that Novozymes has been recognised for its innovation. Earlier this year, together with its partner, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the firm won a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for the same technology.
Such advancements have helped ensure that the company has enjoyed solid growth since it was floated on the stock market in 2000. CEO Steen Riisgaard told FoodNavigator.com recently that the firm has increased its EBITA year on year.
"What this shows is our ability to significantly increase our profitability," he said.
Riisgaard was speaking after the Danish enzyme giant reported an operating profit of 9 per cent for the first nine months of 2005 and a net profit of 14 per cent.
Novozymes dominates the enzyme market with about a 50 to 60 per cent share. US biotech firm Genencor, that now belongs to Danisco after acquisition clearance earlier this year, falls into second place with an approximate 30 per cent slice.