In 2000 sales of margarines containing plant sterol and plant sterol esters were disappointing but despite this raw material suppliers of these products arestill optimistic about their long-term prospects in the functional food and dietary supplement market, The Royal Society of Chemistry reports. The poor sales in 2000 has led to overcapacity of stanol and stanol esters markets causing Raisio the main producers to abandon plans for two production developments. These were a sterol separation joint venture project in Chile with Harting SA and the Solex project in New Zealand. Raisio produces stanol and sterol ester at plants in Charleston, SC, and Raisio, Finland, which operate under a combined utilisation rate of 40%. Raisio took a Euro 37.9m charge to revise its Benecol strategy. Its Benecol division posted a decline in turnover to Euro 23m because of fall in imports to the US. Raisio's new functional food ingredients strategy is to establish a global supply network for stanol and sterol esters. In Jan 2001 Raisio was awarded another US patent (applicable for sterols taken orally or as a food additive) for its substance for lowering high cholesterol level in serum and related methods. Other companies involved in phytosterol include Cargill Inc, Archer Daniels Midland Co, Cognis, Forbes Medi-Tech Inc, DRT of France and UPM Kymmene of Finland. New capacity includes Forbes Medi-Tech and Chusei's $19.8m joint venture plant, capacity 1000 tonnes/y due to come onstream 2001. Forbes Medi-Tech plans to launch a new products containing Reducol in 2001. Forbes Medi-Tech has also acquired rights to technology to extract phytosterols from pitch from BC Chemicals in Canada. Agribusiness giant Cargill is waiting for FDA approval to use its proprietary technology to produce spreads, dressings, yoghurts and food bars. In Feb 2001, Archer Daniels Midland Co and Lifeline Technologies entered into a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement for phytosterol technology applicable to foods and beverages. DRT is the sole worldwide producer of beta-sitosterol in Saint-Girons, France. UPM-Kymmene of Finland produces wood- based sterols for Raisio and operates at full capacity 70 tons/y of sterols. Cognis Nutrition and Health in the Netherlands produces natural phystosterols brand-name Generol. The US Department of Agriculture is working with several US companies toward an exclusive US license to manufacture and commercialise the esterifiedcorn fibre oil, called Amaizing Oil, for use in cooking oils, dairy products, spreads and chocolates. World raw material supplies of vegetable oil sterols is between 4000-4500 tons, and tall oil-based sterols add 500 tons to the total, the report concludes.