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Benecol Case Study: A Leader in Cholesterol-Reducing Food

Benecol is a brand licensed by Finnish company, Raisio Group. Branded products include a range of cholesterol-lowering food goods such as fat spreads, yogurts, milk, bread, and soy drinks. Benecol has become one of the market leaders in cholesterol-reducing foods.

Benecol was developed after Raisio Group was approached by a Finnish university, which was looking into the use of plant stanols, a class of compounds derived from the phytosterols found in many plants, as a way to combat high cholesterol levels amongst the Finnish population. Benecol margarine was introduced to the Finnish market in 1995, quickly gaining market share. Following its success in the Finnish market, Benecol margarine spreads were introduced to the UK, US, and Benelux markets in 1999. Benecol is a niche product targeted at individuals with high cholesterol as opposed to the mass market. As such, it tends to be a lot more expensive than regular products. The Benecol brand is unique to other functional foods in the market in that it is the only product that contains plant stanol esters. Raisio Group has patented the manufacturing process of plant stanol esters and also the use of stanol ester as an ingredient in food products. The Benecol brand has been marketed as ‘heart healthy’. In 2006, Raisio Benecol received the Frost and Sullivan Award for Brand Development Strategy Leadership. Frost and Sullivan gave this award to Benecol for ‘demonstrating superior market growth skills.’The Benecol brand has endured the recent difficult financial times, with net sales growing in 2009 and 2010. In 2000, Unilever launched a rival brand claiming to lower cholesterol, Flora Pro-Activ.

To know, which factors led to the growth of the Benecol brand, read our case study – Benecol Case Study: A leader in cholesterol-reducing food.

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