Finnish Food-Ingredient Manufacturer Set Up An Office in Bangkok

Raisio Benecol, Finnish food-ingredient manufacturer has set up an office in Bangkok and plans to use Thailand as a base to expand throughout Southeast Asia, plus Australia and New Zealand.
The company, part of the Raisio Group, owns a “plant stanol ester” patent under its Benecol brand.
Vice president Mikko Laavainen on September 10, 2007 said the company officially entered Thailand early this year and was talking with many companies in the region. It has already signed contracts in Indonesia and India to use its patented ingredient in the manufacture of food products.
The ingredient blocks the absorption of cholesterol in blood, said Dr Pia Salo, Raisio Benecol’s senior medical adviser for research and development. He said that as in Europe and the US, Asian manufacturers would sell food products using their brands with a Benecol label or sell products under the Benecol brand. The ingredient can be added as a liquid, wax or powder.
Laavainen said Asia would bring high growth to its business, because Asia was a vast region in which people were consuming greater amounts of unhealthy food. The company’s research found more than 4.4 million Thais were suffering from obesity and diabetes, with 70 per cent unaware they had high cholesterol.
However, the ingredient is still very new to the Thai market. The company plans to attend several medical seminars, and once its business partners launch their finished products, those partners will work on building awareness, marketing and distribution.
Laavainen said Benecol was well known in Europe and the US, where it had been in the market for 15 years. The first finished product containing Benecol as an ingredient was launched in 1995, and such products are now sold in 23 countries. The firm’s revenue was 50 million euros (Bt2.37 billion) last year.

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