Düsseldorf, January 12, 2005
Consumer analysts, marketing experts and the World Health Organization (WHO) all agree that actively enhancing mental and physical wellness will be one of the most important trends in society over the coming years. And one of the ways this will express itself is in increased consumer demand for natural, weight management products which can be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Since 2000 Cognis Nutrition & Health has been developing products based on Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). In 2002 an agreement with Natural ASA (Norway) was signed, which grants Cognis an exclusive license for intellectual property and the trademark Tonalin®. If CLA products are to succeed, a high level of isomeric purity is essential, and thanks to an ongoing research program, Cognis has been able to keep improving its production technologies in this regard. Cognis has recognized the achievement of the staff responsible for this improved product by given them its Innovation Award in Gold and 25,000 euro prize money.
“Nutraceuticals” and “functional food” are indicative of the trend toward a more health-conscious approach to nutrition, and market studies indicate that the growth potential in this area is enormous. However, a high level of isomeric purity is crucial to the commercial success of any CLA product, and only the very slightest amounts of unwanted CLA isomers can be tolerated. As a result, the levels of undesired isomers in Cognis CLA products are the lowest of any on the market. In contrast to the situation with many other substances used in animal or human body shaping, to date no adverse side effects (e.g. catabolic or anabolic reactions) have been recorded for Cognis CLA products.
Animal nutrition is another area where CLA can bring significant benefits. Because of the manufacturing expertise Cognis has acquired in this field, BASF, the largest chemical company in the world, has chosen Cognis as their supplier of Luta-CLA in 2003. BASF holds the exclusive license rights for the use of CLA derivatives in animal nutrition from Natural ASA. The use of CLA reduces the accumulation of body fat in livestock such as pigs, chicken and cattle. In dairy cows the application of CLA results in milk with a lower fat content.
Cognis’ unique manufacturing process results in a product that is safe, easy to handle, and highly effective.
Improved production technologies
The raw material for food-grade CLA is produced using a low-temperature transesterification process followed by a mild fractionation under reduced pressure. Cognis has been able to improve the conjugation, saponification and esterification stages of CLA manufacture. Food-grade CLA is obtained using an optimized conjugation and saponification process that maximizes the profitability of the reaction vessel, derived from Natural ASA proprietary technology.
CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid. It is found most abundantly in beef and dairy products, but changes over the past 30 years in the way cattle are raised, combined with the trend towards low-fat alternatives in the dairy category, have significantly reduced the amount of CLA contained in the average human nutrition. A recent study found that CLA helps to reduce body fat mass in overweight but otherwise healthy adults by as much as nine percent, and helps to maintain lean muscle, resulting in an improved muscle-to-fat ratio.
“As global demand for CLA continues to expand, so does our manufacturing capacity. Cognis’ patented processing standards and advanced technologies enable us to deliver consistently high-quality CLA to our customers worldwide, thereby giving them a significant competitive edge,” comments Albert Strube, Cognis Nutrition & Health. With the introduction of the CLA product family, Cognis has added a high-value product to its portfolio that further strengthens the company’s wellness business.
The Cognis Innovation Award
Global specialty chemicals company Cognis believes innovation is the key to the long-term success for any business, and it was this insight that led to the creation of the company’s annual Innovation Award in 2001, which recognizes the success of teams that have achieved outstanding results for Cognis and its customers through their performance, commitment and creativity. This year’s Silver Award and 15,000 euros in prize money have been awarded to “Gluadin WLM – the wheat microprotein with depth effect”, while the Bronze Award, worth 10,000 euros, has gone to “Water-based epoxy coating systems for corrosion protection on concrete and steel”.
Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients. As at September 30, 2004, the company employed about 8,100 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. Additionally, Cognis provides solutions for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, textiles and plastics, as well as agriculture and mining.
Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2003, Cognis recorded sales of 2.95 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and exceptional items) of 312 million euros.