The just-food.com team bring you up-to-date on recent product developments in the functional food world.

Nestlé's healthy gut yoghurt drink LCI has been discontinued in the US because sales have not met expectations. There are also rumours circling that LCI will be withdrawn from the UK market for similar reasons.

Meanwhile, four varieties of Benecol snack bars will be sold exclusively through mail order in the UK. The company is promoting the launch to its nationwide database, offering free samples and snack bar order forms. 

In Finland, Valio has launched a milk-based drink that can lower blood pressure. The blood pressure lowering properties of Evolus are founded on research into milk protein and on the known effects of peptides. According to Valio, Evolus starts to work in helping to lower blood pressure after 5-7 weeks of regular consumption. If the person stops using the product, their blood pressure will return to its original level in around two weeks.

Marks & Spencer, a leading UK food retailer, have been active lately in sponsoring a number of functional food symposiums. The result of which will see a launch of a range of cholesterol-lowering foods in early 2001 under the Food & More brand name. According to a document outlining the rationale for product formulation, the ingredients used will be soya protein, which has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels, the antioxidant vitamins E and C, fructo-oligosaccharide, selenium and betaine, a methyl group donor, which helps to lower homocysteine levels.

Mars have made tentative steps into the functional confectionery market with the launch of chews enriched with prebiotic fibres, provitamin A, and vitamins C and E in Switzerland. Forming part of the Tunes brand, the product is presented in a flip-top pack and is available in three flavours, namely lemon & green tea, strawberry & cream and vanilla and honey. The product claims to improve well being by increasing the body's natural resistance. The prebiotic fibre source is oligofructose and inulin.