Kellogg plots Euro launch for functional food range

Kellogg is planning to launch its functional food brand Ensemble in Europe. The 20-strong range, only available in Michigan in the US, claims to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering cholesterol.

A Kellogg spokeswoman confirms the company intends to bring Ensemble to Europe: “There are plans to go international. In fact, we have met with regulators in Europe regarding novel foods application.”

Ensemble takes Kellogg into new product categories, including frozen convenience pasta meals, dry pasta, bread, frozen breakfast/dessert cakes, crisps and biscuits as well as cereals.

The products contain a soluble fibre from psyllium husk or whole oats, which Kellogg claims reduces cholesterol levels. Kellogg created the Ensemble Functional Foods Company in 1996 to develop the range it began distributing in March 1999 to five US mid-west states. But last month it withdrew Ensemble in all areas but West Michigan, claiming merchandising needed to be improved before its full US roll-out next year.

The Novel Foods Commission in Brussels would have to approve an application for a European launch. Unilever is struggling to get its Flora pro activ lower cholesterol margarine through the European regulatory process.

Novartis will launch its brand of functional foods, Aviva, in the UK and Switzerland this autumn (MW July 22). It is pushing for supermarkets to dedicate merchandising areas to the range.

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