While the low-carb diet trend may be on its way out, public pressure and government action continue to push food companies into making big changes. The process has been disruptive for many firms, but at least one food giant may stand to reap significant benefits.
At this point everyone is familiar with the obesity problem in the U.S. What's more, as has been widely reported, food companies are acting to improve the health profile of their products and help consumers find healthier items. Kraft
As it turns out, the federal government is also doing its part to battle the obesity scourge, although as is often the case with government actions, things have been moving slowly. Back in 1999, the Food and Drug Administration began considering a new rule requiring food makers to display trans-fatty acid, or trans-fat, content on packaging labels. Trans-fats, often showing up in ingredient lists as "partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils," have been shown to raise levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. After a few years of debate and revision, the FDA finalized a rule mandating the inclusion of trans-fat information on labels by January 1, 2006.
As the regulation's due date approaches, trans-fats are becoming public enemy No. 1 for food makers. PepsiCo's
That's where Archer Daniels Midland
At the moment it's still too early to tell what the impact of NovaLipid will be for ADM's bottom line. But given the drive to eliminate trans-fats, NovaLipid may have a bright future.
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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.