On the Street -- Unilever Removing Hydrogenated Oils

July 27/Englewood Cliffs, N.J./Business Wire -- Unilever announced that its entire soft (tub) spreads portfolio in the U.S. will have no partially hydrogenated oils and therefore no trans fats per serving by the second quarter of 2010.

After an extensive three-year research and development effort, Unilever has begun removing the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, Brummel & Brown, Shedd's Spread Country Crock and Imperial soft spread products sold in tub formats, thereby eliminating the artificial trans fats in these products. The company committed to doing so while ensuring that the saturated fat content of these spreads remains as low as possible (2g or less per serving), consistent with dietary guidance to limit saturated fat intake. Product taste and performance will not change.

"We have been a global leader in the production and innovation of spreads for over 50 years," said John LeBoutillier, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Foods, Unilever. "As the category leader with a portfolio of leading brands enjoyed by families across the country, we're proud to make a commitment that will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of millions of our loyal consumers."

"The ultimate goal is to further reduce trans fats in the American diet, while maintaining lower levels of saturated fat than butter and many other soft spreads on the market," LeBoutillier added. "This is an important step for Unilever, a company driven by our Vitality mission to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people look good, feel good and get more out of life."

"I commend Unilever on its approach to reducing trans fat levels while keeping lower levels of saturated fat than many other competitive products, including butter," said Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, and past president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). "Leading health authorities have made it clear that it is advisable for consumers to limit both saturated and trans fats in their diets, and in making this change, Unilever will continue to have a portfolio that provides consumers with better nutrition choices."

From the August 3, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition