ADM ramps up alternative trans fat line

Related tags Trans fatty acids Nutrition

Reflecting the booming market for trans fatty acid alternatives,
speciality oil supplier ADM ramps up production of its zero/low
trans-fat oils and margarines, for the second time in a year,
Lindsey Partos reports.

The €24.9 billion agricultural processor said this week it will expand output of its NovaLipid production line by "adding capacity"​ to its Minnesota enzyme inter-esterification facility. Construction is due to be completed by late 2005.

The move follows swiftly on from expansion plans for the product line, announced​ in July last year, at ADM's Quincy, Illinois plant.

News of the ADM expansion is a clear sign that food makers are increasingly turning to alternative ingredients to slice artery clogging trans fatty acids (TFAs) out of their formulations.

Mounting evidence suggests that TFAs raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, causing the arteries to become more rigid and clogged. An increase in LDL cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease.

But the industrial food process of partial hydrogenation - used for baking, frying, shelf-life, and other purposes - changes the molecular configuration and properties of oils, creating trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the oil.

As the market grows, so does the competition. Eyeing market opportunities, in addition to ADM a host of ingredients firms have already launched a raft of speciality oils to target 'trans-free' requests.

Last month Germany's Bayer CropScience and US firm Cargill announced a link-up of technologies on seed development to create a new oil, for launch by 2007.

"Bayer CropScience will provide its InVigor line of hybrid rapeseed high-yielding seed and Cargill, the 'desirable oil traits' for producing high oleic rapeseed oil,"​ a spokesperson at Bayer CropScience recently explained to

Last year US firms Dow AgroSciences, Bunge and DuPont all launched their various brands of zero or low trans fat oil.

Demand for alternatives is particularly strong in the US where incoming labelling rules mean that by 1 January 2006 all trans fats in food products will have to be labelled on the nutritional panel.

Europe has yet to introduce a similar rule, but consumer organisations are pressing for such transparency and food makers are feeling market pressure to remove the TFAs from their products.

In 2003 Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce restrictions on the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids. Oils and fats are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent.

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