Global specialty chemicals supplier Cognis has honored the commercial success of Vegapure®, a plant sterol ester for lowering blood cholesterol, by giving its internal Innovation Award 2007 to the development team responsible for the product. This natural-based ingredient was developed in close cooperation with a renowned international brand manufacturer. It appeals to consumers’ increasing interest in health-promoting food and drinks.
Many consumers see drinks containing natural ingredients as an easy first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Plant sterol esters are one such ingredient and they have been proven in clinical studies to lower harmful LDL cholesterol. Working closely with one of the world’s leading food and beverage brands, a team from Cognis’ strategic business unit Nutrition & Health developed a new sterol ester based on special fatty acids. The aim was to achieve the highest possible product quality while keeping the cost of the ingredient competitive. The latest Vegapure product also compares favorably with other sterol esters in terms of taste, oxidative stability, ease of transportation, and storage at ambient temperatures.
An innovation with excellent long-term prospects
The Vegapure project grew naturally out of Cognis’ strategy of targeting the wellness and sustainability markets. The new Vegapure product allows a lower dosage to be added to the final product than with conventional alternatives. As a result, the manufacture of the product requires less energy and produces less emissions. The product development team also put great effort into ensuring that the sterol esters deliver the best possible taste and mouth feel, and as a result, they can be used even in unflavored dairy products. This was achieved by using the right balance of different sterol sources, in combination with a particular fatty acid. Vegapure was developed to meet the specific requirements of Cognis’ customer, and the process drew heavily on Cognis’ in-depth knowledge of consumer preferences. Comments Wolfgang Albiez, Global Product Manager Sterols: “The yoghurt drink with cholesterol-lowering benefits that uses our latest Vegapure is selling well, and as a result, the manufacturer in question is keen to expand the relationship and to work together on further products – an important strategic success for Cognis as a whole.”
The Cognis Innovation Award
“Our goal is to provide specialties that help our customers meet the demands of today’s wellness and sustainability markets,” says Antonio Trius, CEO of Cognis. “We believe that innovation is a key factor in the long-term success of our business, and the Innovation Award aims to encourage creativity and original thinking in our employees.” The award was first presented in 2001, and recognizes the achievements of Cognis employees who have developed innovative solutions for new products, processes, marketing approaches or other improvements. Entries are judged on various criteria, including market success, potential competitive benefits for Cognis’ customers, degree of innovation, and compatibility with Cognis’ sustainability strategy. In 2007, the award was given to three teams.
Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, with a particular focus on the areas of wellness and sustainability. The company employs about 7,700 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Another main focus is on products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, textiles, as well as agriculture and mining. The subsidiary Pulcra Chemicals offers specialized chemical products and process expertise to customers in the fiber, textile, and leather industries. Cognis also holds a 50-percent stake in the joint venture Cognis Oleochemicals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of oleochemicals.
Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2006, Cognis recorded sales of 3.37 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 394 million euros.