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    Finnish Retailer Expands Cholesterol-reducing Line

    HELSINKI -- Kesko Group here has this week expanded its Pirkka line of products containing Forbes Medi-Tech, Inc.'s cholesterol-lowering ingredient, Reducol. Among the new items, which will be available at all of the retailer's stores, are a nondairy margarine and Natural (plain) and Cranberry yogurt flavors to complement the successful Buckthorn and Raspberry varieties introduced in May 2005.

    HELSINKI -- Kesko Group here has this week expanded its Pirkka line of products containing Forbes Medi-Tech, Inc.'s cholesterol-lowering ingredient, Reducol. Among the new items, which will be available at all of the retailer's stores, are a nondairy margarine and Natural (plain) and Cranberry yogurt flavors to complement the successful Buckthorn and Raspberry varieties introduced in May 2005.

    "Due to the success of the original Pirkka yogurts containing Reducol, two new flavors have been added to the heart-healthy category, along with a nondairy margarine spread," said Jukka Koivunen, purchasing director of Kesko Food. "The Pirkka lactose-free margarine was developed in an effort to provide the best products possible for the Finnish population, where there is a high level of lactose intolerance."

    Earlier this year, Reducol-based margarines were rolled out at Tesco stores in the United Kingdom, and Ahold-owned Albert Heijn locations in the Netherlands, but the new Pirkka item launch is the first-ever nondairy Reducol margarine formulation.

    Reducol is an ingredient containing plant sterols and stanols, commonly known as phytosterols, or "sterols." The combination of a prudent diet and consumption of products containing the recommended amount of Reducol may help consumers lower their cholesterol by up to 24 percent, according to Forbes Medi-Tech.

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