Finnish firm Atria Oyj has developed the first two meat products to contain Benecol, the cholesterol-lowering stanol ester ingredient from Finnish company Raisio. The new products, chicken meatballs and frankfurters, were recently introduced to the Finnish market.
The company has also introduced two different types of ready-made salads with Benecol, a beetroot salad and a potato salad.
"The US National Institutes of Health recently published new guidelines that aim to decrease cholesterol and coronary heart disease," Atria promotional literature notes.
"One of these is stanol ester, which is used in Benecol products. Stanol ester in meat products and convenience foods lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. Benecol products contain plant stanol, which lowers serum cholesterol. Stanol ester lowers serum total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, but has no effect on HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol or triglycerides. Over 30 clinical trials show that 2 grams of stanol as stanol ester lowers serum total cholesterol by 10 per cent and serum LDL cholesterol by 15 per cent," the company continues.
The Raisio Group is headquartered in Raisio, Southwest Finland and was founded in 1939. Currently, the company is divided into three sectors (foodstuffs, animal feed, chemical) and has captured 49 per cent of the Finnish margarine market.
McNeil, a division of Johnson & Johnson, licensed the plant stanol ester ingredient for US markets in July 1997 and worldwide markets in March 1998.