Statin drugs, such as lovastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin, effectively reduce cholesterol levels. However, recent concerns over the impact of these prescription medications on muscle tissue (including the heart) and on the liver have increased consumer interest in alternatives. This has led one supplier to look at ways to help manufacturers provide options.
“We do business a bit differently for an ingredient company, in that we focus on what drives consumers,” says Steve Snyder, director, sales and marketing with Cargill Health and Food Technologies, Wayzata, Minn. “This guides us both in how to expand the applications for existing ingredients and, also, as to which new ingredients we should offer.” This philosophy has led Cargill to market a line of phytosterols and phytosterol esters.
While phytosterols have a white granular appearance and melt in the 135º to 145º C range, phytosterol esters are a translucent wax and melt at the much lower range of 14º to 28º C.
The properties of phytosterol esters make them most applicable for use in oil-and fat-based systems such as margarines and salad dressings, according to Vince Sciacca, sales development manager. Free phytosterols work well for other applications such as dairy and cereal products. “We also have an emulsified phytosterol under development for use in beverages.”
Other products offered by Cargill include Oliggo-Fiber™ inulin, trehalose, CS90+ chondroitin sulfate, AdvantaSoy™ Complete™ and AdvantaSoy™ Clear™ isoflavones.
“We don't want to have just the latest trendy ingredient, we want to provide consumers—through their diet— the right, good-tasting, convenient product backed by the right science and consumer insight,” concludes Snyder.