Tesco launches cholesterol-lowering milk

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Tesco

Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket, has launched a
cholesterol-lowering milk, adding to its range being marketed under
its own label.

In the UK, half of the population is said to have high cholesterol levels, making this a key market for functional food manufacturers.

Cholesterol remains the single biggest modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease, which kills more than 120,000 people every year in the UK alone.

The milk, containing the plant sterol and stanol combination Reducol, made by Canada-based Forbes Medi-Tech adds to the margarine spread, yogurt and yogurt drink introduced last year by Tesco.

Charles Butt, president and CEO of Forbes Medi-Tech said the launch of another Reducol-containing product with the UK's leading retailer was a very promising start to the year.

"The addition of a cholesterol-lowering milk drink to the range of Tesco products strengthens product positioning for Reducol and helps build market share for Tesco's private label brand,"​ said Butt.

Reducol, derived from forestry byproducts, has an advantage over soya-derived sterols in that it is guaranteed GM-free.

Studies on the ingredient suggest that consuming the daily recommended amount of Reducol, on top of a healthy diet, can help lower cholesterol by up to 24 per cent.

The news from Forbes comes less than a week after it announced the sale of its interest in Phyto-Source, the company's 50-50 sterol manufacturing joint venture, for $25m (€21m, £14m) to Chusei Oil Co., the Japanese parent company of the joint venture partner, Chusei (U.S.A.).

Simultaneously, the two companies signed a supply agreement that would assure Forbes Medi-Tech a supply of Reducol and other wood sterols for a period of 5 years, with exclusivity for the first year.

"We believe that owning an interest in a sterol manufacturing facility is no longer critical to Forbes' business strategy of developing and marketing a continuum of products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, from food and dietary supplement ingredients to pharmaceutical therapeutics,"​ said Butt.

Food industry executives polled by Reuters Business Insight last year predicted that by 2009, cholesterol-lowering foods will be the most profitable health food, far ahead of recently trendy products such as low-carb foods.

Related topics: Ingredients, Fresh Milk

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