Benecol® inventor to receive a degree of Doctor Honoris Causa

Posted: 27 May 2011 | RAISIO PLC | No comments yet

Ingmar Wester is to receive a degree of Doctor Honoris Causa of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences…

Ingmar Wester, M.Sc, Research and Development Director of Raisio Group’s Benecol Division will today, May 27th, receive a degree of Doctor Honoris Causa of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Turku, Finland. Wester has had an important role in the development of plant stanol ester, the cholesterol-lowering ingredient in Benecol® products and he has widely cooperated with the various departments of the University of Turku in research related to functional foods.

Ingmar Wester (b. 1959) has worked a significant part of his career at Raisio Group researching and developing healthy foods. After his graduation from Åbo Akademi university in 1985, Wester started as a Research Manager at Raision Margariini Oy, the former edible oils and fats division of Raisio. Under his leadership, Raision Margariini Oy built a modern research laboratory and invested in research and development infrastructure that enabled the development of healthier dietary fats and oils.

In 1989, Ingmar Wester made a significant innovation that resulted in the development of a process for production of plant stanol ester. Wester’s role has also been essential in the clinical research of health effects of plant stanol ester. This work still continues in cooperation with Finnish and international universities and research institutes. Based on strong scientific evidence, Benecol products are among the few foods authorised to use a disease risk reduction health claim in accordance with the new EU legislation.

Ingmar Wester sees high-level university education and research as an essential factor for the successful development and commercialisation of innovations: “One of the key success factors of our Benecol products has been the strong scientific evidence achieved in cooperation with universities, including the University of Turku.”

So far over a hundred high-quality peer-reviewed scientific publications have been published on the health effects of plant stanol ester. Ingmar Wester’s contribution is also significant in the innovation of new research topics. Benecol products are currently sold in 30 countries on five continents and millions of people use them daily to lower their cholesterol.